Home > King James Only, Mallinak > A Follow-up and Clarification on the “Update” Issue

A Follow-up and Clarification on the “Update” Issue

They say hindsight is 20/20. There are times, however, when hindsight drags its heels in getting to the full 20/20 status. Like Johnny staring out the back bus window, I find myself watching the scenery come into clearer focus.

When I wrote the post on updating the King James, I wrote it in the context of defending (at times vehemently) the King James Only position. It certainly was not intended as an attack, nor was it intended to undermine confidence in the KJV. I am King James Only. I am not ashamed to be numbered among those who have defended her purity. I could not find a better group of men with which to associate myself than those who take the position of King James Only. Our detractors have called us “lemmings,” along with other less than flattering titles. I’ll say for all to hear that I gladly stand with the lemmings.

That being said, I realize now that my “update” post alienated many. Upon re-reading the post recently, I found myself muttering something about “youthful brashness and plain stupidity.” “Overstated” would be an understatement. In that post, my own edginess caught me by surprise. He is a great fool who attacks his own allies. This was not my intention. But intended or not, this was the result. Please accept my apology. The “update” post was mine and only mine. I wrote it. No one else contributed to it. In fact, the others felt that it was unwise to post it. I take full responsibility both for the article itself and for the ensuing fallout. I can see why many would have serious concerns.

For one thing, I miserably failed to consider the many sound objections from my allies on the KJVO side of the debate. Rather, I handily dismissed all objections to an update as a reliance on “tradition.” Of course some very serious objections have been raised and must be considered. Both Tom Ross and Bobby Mitchell have named the most serious of those objections, and I want to say publicly that I think they have legitimate concerns. One of the biggest fears is that whenever this has been attempted in the past, men have strayed from their purpose in favor of their own agenda. The apostasy of the age in which we live is a grave concern, which must not be overlooked.

In addition, Tom is correct in asserting that languages do not change at a fixed rate.  English reached its zenith in the 1600’s and 1700’s. Since then, the changes have been slight and the pace has slowed so that, although we might struggle with “Older English,” yet it remains accessible to us. I might add that, in review, the Beowulf example is kind of embarrassing… talk about bad analogy. Saxon is not English. Languages do not change at a fixed rate, and though the language of the KJV can be a challenge, the beauty and majesty of it more than compensates for the difficulties. It is highly doubtful that any subsequent editions could maintain the magnificence of the language.

And of course, I also failed to recognize the one objection that we can all relate to… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With that in mind, and for several reasons we should not update the King James at this time. I’m sorry that I gave the impression that I was planning to do this. I was not and am not. But again, my rhetoric was misleading, and left many with the impression that I was putting together a plan to do this, and that I myself intended to lead the charge. I have no such plans.

My purpose in writing the article was much different than all that. Unfortunately, I failed to convey that, and as a result… well, here’s my shot at setting the record straight. I am continually amazed at the variety of creative ways I can find to fail.

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Categories: King James Only, Mallinak
  1. Bobby Mitchell
    April 6, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Brother,

    God bless you. Thanks for writing this. It is a good example of how to deal with such things.

  2. April 6, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    I am continually amazed at the variety of creative ways I can find to fail.

    Well, brother, it is humbling to see you make right what you believed was wrong. I’m sure there are times we are all guilty of not expressing ourselves the best way, and sometimes others get the wrong impression of the point we are trying to make.

    I do appreciate your (all three of you) posts on this blog (and your own blogs). I may not agree with every point made – but you have challenged me on various issues (or aspects of issues), and have caused me to dig in deeper. For that, I thank the Lord. God bless.

  3. April 6, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I still think it is worth talking about, not to do it, as you have stated, but to discuss what we believe about preservation. Sometimes, I understand, we are thinking about something we are considering and before we have it all thought out, we throw it out as a brainstorm for the purpose of discussion, and it can become testy, hot, whatever, and as a result, hard feelings. We don’t want this, but since we do love one another, love believeth, hopeth, and endureth, so our love for one another endures. Yes, this is me talking about love, yes, I believe in love.

  4. April 6, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    “Yes, this is me talking about love, yes, I believe in love.”

    Oh no, this is getting too mushy! Where’s all the hammering?

  5. Joel Lichtenwalner
    April 6, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Wrong word in first paragraph: People dig in their “heels”, germs dig in their “heals.”

  6. April 6, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks Joel, I fixed the mispelling for Pastor Mallinak.

  7. Chris Stieg
    April 6, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Yes, I have to agree that the original post was controversial, but I also agree with much of what you wrote.

    I can certainly see the rationale of the argument, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” But, while I certainly don’t think the KJV is broke, I also think that it may be able to be understood better if it were updated.

    If it were updated (by this I mean removing eth and est, revising archaic language and sentence structure, etc.), then it would largely render moot the argument that the KJV is too hard to understand; and the debate could focus on the text.

    While I am prepared to accept an update if done in the right way, the issue would be how to do it in the right way. For me, that is the hard part. I think that it should be done within say, the next 20 years or so, but who is going to do it?

    As language changes, it will need to be done. I don’t see how anyone can really argue with that. The question is not if, but when. I think what may have scared people by your post is that it sounded like you were saying it needed to be done right now. But I believe your post may have gotten a lot of people thinking about this matter, even if it were just a collection of thoughts regretted in hindsight.

  8. April 6, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Bro,

    I appreciate the humilty of this post, and am thankful you posted it. I look forward to reading more from you.

    Terry

  9. Thomas Ross
    April 8, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Praise the Lord!

  10. April 9, 2007 at 10:23 am

    For what it is worth, I have always thought that most of these newer editions claim to be better because they are easier understood? And at the point of making something understandable, they compromise its meaning… whehter on purpose or not… Anytime you change words, you change the meaning, maybe just slightly, but you still change it… Another argument I’ve always had against changing to make it simpler is the idea that if you recognize all the words with the “-eth or -est” (Hi Chris, haven’t seen you for a while, have to play chess some time) than you must have some comprehension of it and therefore be able to read it. So why change it? Finally, I believe the greatest value of not changing the high standard of the Bible is just that… It’s a high standard, something that must be strived for, something someone must have a desire to understand. Jesus taught in parables, so that those that wanted to understand would and those that did not, well, did not… Not to be too carnal, but I enjoy a good book when I read it for the first time, get to the end and realize there was more going on than I realized and I go back to read it again and get more out of it (which reminds me of Pastor Mallinak’s entries most of the time)… While I believe in the value of extra-biblical books used in the exploration and udnerstanding of the Scritpures, maybe even a simpler Bible story book, but I do not believe it should replace the Bible or need to update it… I guess that is enough rambling for now.

  11. Mike Hontz
    September 26, 2007 at 10:52 am

    1. If the Christian church’s acceptance of a version makes it ‘the preserved text’, then what happens when the majority of the English speaking church has moved beyond the KJV and has placed their acceptance on a newer text(s)? If one is honest, the KJV-only position is very much in the minority today among Christians. While it is likely still the most purchased version among all of them, it would be wrong to say that most Christians use the KJV. It is just that there are so many other versions that compete against it that no one other version has achieved the level of prominence that the KJV did. Nonetheless, if the acceptance by the English-speaking world is the primary basis to determine that the KJV is THE ONLY text, then what happens when it is no longer held in such a prominent position? Does it lose its preserved status, or do other versions gain preserved status alongside of it?

    2. Can one really claim that the KJV is more accurate of a translation simply because it was accepted in its time as the best English version available then? Can one really argue that ‘bottles’ is a better translation than ‘wineskins’ in Luke 5:37 when we know that they did not store wine in bottles, but rather in wineskins at this time, not to mention that an old bottle is not weaker than a new one, and so the story doesn’t make sense the way it communicates in the KJV.

    3. Is this argument from the church’s acceptance really valid when we consider all that the church as a whole endorsed prior to the Reformation. The church as a whole endorsed infant baptism as a necessary component in salvation. They endorsed the idea that the pope of the Roman Catholic Church was God’s inspired voice on earth. Yet the church’s whole-hearted acceptance of these ‘truths’ didn’t make them true. How then does it make sense to argue that the church’s acceptance of the KJV as the version of choice proves that it is THE PRESERVED version? Furthermore, it is important to note that nobody at that time or for hundreds of years to follow was making this argument. The people in the 17th century were not arguing against using the Geneva Bible or the Bishops Bible because the KJV was preserved in a way that its predecessors were not. It was simply a newer version and one that had corrected some of the flaws of those that preceded it. This is no different today in the newer versions that have come as a result of older manuscripts which have been discovered and in the advancement in understanding regarding the Greek and Hebrew languages. Also, as the English language changes, it only makes sense to update one’s versions of the Bible so as to communicate the most precious and important message in the world as clearly as possible.

  12. Mike Hontz
    September 26, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I think it is worth noting that the change in the English language over the past couple hundred years is more than simply a matter of ‘thee’ versus ‘you’ or ‘taketh’ verses ‘takes’. Words that used to mean one thing, no longer mean that anymore. Some examples are:

    communicate meant ‘to share’
    conversation meant ‘lifestyle’
    quick meant ‘living’
    mortify meant ‘to put to death’
    save meant ‘only’ or ‘except’
    several meant ‘individual’
    suffer meant ‘to allow’
    touching meant ‘concerning’
    wax meant ‘to grow’ or ‘become’

    All of these words have a different meaning today. If one were to ask the average Christian what Philippians 1:27 or Hebrews 13:5 means when they say “Let your conversation be” without coveteousness or to be as it becomes the gospel of Christ, most would assume this is referring to one’s speech since conversation today refers to a verbal discussion.

    Another important way in which our language has changed in the last couple hundred years is in regards to some words that are now considered highly offensive, especially when teaching children. We would never use the word ‘bastard’ in our speech today because it is considered a cuss word and is highly offensive, yet one is forced to use it when quoting Scripture. Likewise, we would never use the word ‘ass’ to refer to a donkey, or the word ‘pisseth’ to refer to urination, yet the KJV uses these words. Anyone who has taught a children’s class out of the KJV as I have knows how awkward and distracting it can be to use these words when reading or having them read Scripture. There is usually a gasp from some of the students who think that the teacher just cussed. The teacher then has to explain why that word wasn’t a bad word in the past when the Bible was written, but why the student shouldn’t use the word today.

    Since when does the ‘beauty’ of the language take precedence over the ‘accuracy’ of the language or its ability to communicate effectively in our culture even to those who didn’t grow up in the church and are unfamiliar with the KJV’s particularities?

  13. Sam Hanna
    September 26, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Mike

    Just as we study the Biblical languages as they are sealed, so we should train our children to study the KJV, as it also is a sealed language. I don’t see what your problem is.

    We need to bring our culture and children up to unrivalled language of the KJV not bring them down to the cesspool of modern English. God is not “my buddy” no matter what the Charismatics say so I do not have to accommodate them.

    You also pre-suppose in your arguments that the Bible was primarily written for evangelism of unbelievers. When you resolve the fact that its primary purpose is for the true Church, then it becomes even more apparent that the language should reflect the highest state of beauty and awe in our hearts when we read its words. That cannot be found in the modern perversions with their dumbed down English.

    I leave the others to answer your textual questions.

  14. Mike Hontz
    September 28, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Sam,

    First of all, I have no problem with the KJV of with people who prefer to use it. I grew up using that version and still own at least four copies. I memorized much Scripture out of it and have preached many sermons from it. I went through Bible College using it as my primary textbook. It has been a big part of my life. The real question to ask is why do YOU have a problem with those who desire to use an updated version? I have read the unfair and unacademic attacks on modern versions by those in your camps accusing of them being Satanic versions or New Age Versions, etc. Therefore, the burden of proof lies on those within your camp to prove such accusations. It also behooves those in your camp to prove not only the superiority of the KJV, but also the exclusivity of the KJV. And so when you make claims as those who have contributed to this post that God has somehow attested to the KJV’s exclusivity by the fact that a large majority of the English-speaking church accepted it as their version of choice (though not as the only legitimate version as they didn’t then condemn other less popular competing English versions as men do today), then I think it needs to be asked if God has attested to many of the other things including heresies which were held to by a large majority of the entire professing church. If not, then how can you claim such an argument proves God’s exclusive acceptance of the KJV. Furthermore, if you are going to make claims that preservation means that God has ‘perfectly’ preserved the wording of the originals not just in the mother languages, but even into a particular translation, then this needs to be shown from the evidence. In fact, the evidence overwhelmingly refutes such a claim. A simple examination of the 1611 version of the KJV will produce numerous errors such as the pluralizing of singulars and leaving out important words like ‘not’. In fact, more than 400 errors in the first edition were corrected in the subsequent edition only two years later. Three examples of corrections that have been made by the 1850 edition are Numbers 4:40, Ezekiel 24:7, and 1 Corinthians 12:28.

    1. Numbers 4:40 – The 1611 said, ‘houses’ whereas the 1850 revision has corrected it to say ‘house’.

    2. Ezekiel 24:7 – The 1611 said, ‘poured it upon the ground’ whereas the 1850 has corrected it to say, ‘poured it NOT upon the ground.’ This is a pretty significant mistake since the one statement is the opposite of the other.

    3. 1 Corinthians 12:28 – The 1611 said ‘helps IN governments’ whereas the 1850 revision reads, ‘helps, governments.’

    Besides the evidence being unquestionably against the notion that the KJV translators were carried along by the Holy Spirit so as to produce a version without errors, but the same is true of the Greek and Hebrew copyists. There are no two copies that exist today, even among the Byzantine manuscripts (Textus Receptus) that agree totally with each other. This is why I rightly stated that even Erasmus was forced to critically evaluate the five or six manuscripts that he had available to him when putting together his own ‘eclectic’ Greek text which stood behind the original KJV. One of the most significant and well-known decisions he had to make was whether or not to include the notorious 1 John 5:7-8. Erasmus concluded that none of the Greek texts he had in his possession included these verses. Only the Latin Vulgate which was the Catholic churches official Bible included them. Erasmus reluctantly translated these verses into Greek from the Latin because of pressure from the Catholic church to include them in his Greek text. To this day, no Greek text prior to the fourteenth century contains this highly questionable inclusion. And so these clear facts of history and translation dispute beyond question the claims by some that the KJV represents a divinely preserved English rendering of the original manuscripts. While it might make some feel better about the Bible they possess to believe this doctrine, it is simply not supported by any of the facts.

    Secondly, it is wrong to say that the biblical LANGUAGES are sealed. The BIBLE is sealed, and hence the language used at that point in history is the only one that will ever be included in the writing of it. However, Greek has always been a changing language. Prior to Koine Greek, the dialect was referred to as Attic Greek, usually associated with Classical Greek. After Koine Greek, the language developed into Medieval Greek and eventually into Modern Greek. These changes did not take place over night, but gradually. Therefore, there are really countless variations on a spectrum of the evolution of Greek. Hebrew was no different as the development of Aramaic and its similarity to Hebrew caused many Aramaic words to be incorporated into Hebrew over time. The reason we study Koine Greek today is not because the language is sealed, but because the manuscripts which represent copies of the originals are naturally going to represent the dialect from the time the originals were written.

    However, the same does not apply to translations. Because translations are not inspired, there is no need to teach our children the archaic language contained within a translation from a previous generation. Such thinking is completely contrary to the initial spirit behind why the Bible was translated into English in the first place. John Wycliffe was burdened for the uneducated peasant farmers who couldn’t understand the official Bible of the Catholic church which was written in Latin. He wanted the people to have a Bible in their common dialect that they could easily understand. And so he began translating portions of it into their language and sending out preachers to reach them. And so while I do not suppose in my arguments that ‘the Bible was primarily for evangelism of unbelievers’ as you claim, I do find it ironic and sad that you value the beauty of lofty archaic language over the souls of lost men. As though the evangelism of the lost is an unworthy reason to update the Bible into a language that even the most common, uneducated in our society can understand. Tell me, which of us truly stands within the heritage of men like John Wycliffe and his successors?

    Thirdly, I find it rather ironic that you liken modern English to that of a ‘cesspool’ and say that it is ‘dumbed down English.’ Why then do you write your post with such cesspool and dumbed down language? Does this reflect that you are ‘dumbed down’ since you no longer use Old English to communicate with your friends and family? And what language did you teach your children to speak in the home as they were growing up? I hope you didn’t teach them the cesspool of modern English. It is quite ridiculous to assert that because one language is judged to be artistically or phonetically more beautiful by some that all other dialects are deficient much less morally equatable with a cesspool. Isn’t it fascinating that God chose to have the NT written not in the more sophisticated Attic Greek, but that which was accessible to the most people, the COMMON (Koine) Greek! And so it is not just the Charismatics (of which I am not one) or liberal Christians today who assert that the Bible should be translated so as to reach the most people in the language spoken by the people, rather it was men like John Wycliffe who taught and modeled this. More importantly, it was God who modeled this first in his life of ‘coming down to the level of mankind’ in the incarnation and then by communicating his Word to the most common of men in the most common language of the day.

    Finally, I assume that you leave others to tackle the textual questions because it is an issue that you have not studied much. That is fine, as there are many things that I have yet to study for myself. However, it seems a little hypocritical to be committed so fully to a doctrine that you have not even studied the basic in’s and out’s of. If you don’t have a basic education in the concepts associated with the history of the transmission of the text and the basic concepts behind textual criticism, then you probably shouldn’t be condemning others who have different opinions than you in posts such as this when your opinions are based more on your feelings and your traditions than on a genuine seeking out of the facts and the truth.

    Finally, none of the mainstream English versions refer to God as ‘my buddy’ or anything less demeaning than in the KJV. The only possible thing one might be referring to is the use of ‘Thee’ and ‘Thou’ to refer to God which some see as more respectful. However, it should be pointed out that even the KJV translators have God addressing Adam as ‘thee’. The use of ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ was not a mark of addressing God with more respect, it was merely the manner in which people addressed other people at that time, and so this is reflected throughout the KJV no matter whom is being addressed.

  15. September 28, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Mike, you should read our month on preservation (KJV issue). If not, then all we’ll be doing is rehashing what we’ve already said. We believe the Bible was preserved in the languages in which it was written. What you wrote above isn’t even arguing with our position, but with an English preservationist. I don’t believe that Sam takes an English preservation position either. If you have something in the way of credible argument against our actual position, I think we would be glad to consider it.

  16. Mike Hontz
    October 1, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Kent,

    I have read the month’s articles on preservation, though I hadn’t read all of it when I wrote my last post. Having read all of it (I think), I still don’t believe that the issues I have raised have adequately been answered, though some have been acknowledged. In fairness to me, many of my comments were in response to Sam’s response to my previous post. He is the one who referred to modern English as ‘dumbed-down’ and as a ‘cesspool’. This is clearly arguing for the superiority of one ‘English’ dialect (for lack of a better word) over that of another. Likewise, he said that the English language was a sealed language in the same way that the biblical language was sealed, which is again an argument in favor of promoting one English dialect over that of another. His arguments were not attempting to deal with the TR over and against the CT. These are the issues that he said he would leave to others.

    It seems to me that one of the biggest obstacles being espoused by the KJVO’s on this post is that the CT “relies on forensics and science to render the correct reading.” This was the reason given in one of the articles for rejecting the NKJV as a legitimate and worthy translation in spite of its exclusive reliance on the TR. There are some obvious problems with this argument, the first of which I raised in my last post.

    1. The TR is itself the product of the same sort of textual criticism as is the eclectic text or the CT. As I pointed out already, Erasmus had to make the same sorts of textual judgments when comparing the limited number of Greek texts (and the Latin Vulgate) at his disposal. Likewise, Scrivener had to do the same when he compiled his TR at the end of the 19th century. The dichotomy that your camp has set up between CT and the TR as to the methodology behind them is a false one. The only difference is whether one should include the older texts found later in other geographical regions of the world in addition to those from the Byzantine empire or whether to exclude them in favor of the majority text only. The other issue concerns which text type(s) to give preference to. However, the same precesses are behind both text types. Dave Mallinak’s article “Not All KJVO’s are Created Equal” acknowledges the existence of textual variants among TR Greek texts. With that in mind, how does one think that those differences were resolved? Was it not by critically examining each of the variants for a particular verse and determining which was most likely to be representative of the original. And so if it was OK for the TR scholars to use textual criticism, why is it labeled as liberal when the CT’s do it?

    2. I believe that it is wrong to imply that because people rely on ‘forensics and science’, that it implies that they do not rely on the Holy Spirit, or that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the process. Would someone argue that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the process of illuminating a believer as he studies Scripture simply because there are scientific or forensic rules that are used such as deciphering grammatical nuances, the study of etymology, learning the geography and sociology of that time and culture in order to understand the cultural undertones of the passage, looking at other similar passages that deal with similar topics (cross referencing) in order to better understand the passage at hand, etc. These are all scientific and forensic-like. They require much effort and learning on the part of the human element involved, and they do not always result in a unified and unanimous acceptance of the ‘right’ interpretation of any given passage. Yet this does not prove that such efforts are ‘humanistic’ or lacking in their dependence on the Holy Spirit. Similarly, the process of receiving the Canon of 66 books which was often referred to as a similar example of the Holy Spirit’s work in causing the church to reach the right conclusion was not separated from ‘scientific’ or ‘forensic’ standards that were held up against the books in question, nor was it without disagreement among Christians over the first several centuries of church history. Some of the critical standards that were used to determine a book’s canonicity were: 1) its author – whether or not it was written by an Apostle or one who was closely associated with an Apostle, 2) Did the book claim internally to be the Word of God, 3) Did the book contain any known errors, or did it contradict other accepted books of Scripture, and 4) Was it accepted by most of the church as being authoritative Scripture. These criteria helped the church leaders who finally agreed on which books were legitimate and which were not in the same way that textual critics use various criteria to determine which variant words or phrases are legitimate and which are not. These criteria are not rocket science; anyone who takes the time to look over them and the reasons behind them will realize that they are just common-sense criteria that help to determine the most likely original wording in light of the various options. It is the necessary evil regardless of which Greek texts are accepted as more accurate on both sides of the arguments in light of the textual variants that exist in the manuscripts.

    There are still many reasons why I think that the presupposition that says that the KJV is the ‘only’ text because it was supposedly received as the only text by the English speaking church. However, most of the things that I have thought, have been said by others who have contributed to other posts on this issue. So I will not restate them here, as others have already pointed out the problems with this presupposition.

    I want to say one more thing. I take issue with several of the things that you said in your article “Multiple Versions Only”.

    1) First of all, the title is a complete misnomer. Nobody claims to be a MVO in the way that those in your camp claim to be a KJVO. In fact it is impossible. The word ‘multiple’ means that there is more than one that is acceptable. The word ‘only’ means that there is one. The title seems to be intended to equate those who are not KJVO’s as having the same sort of bias for a particular version as the KJVO’s have, but this is simply not true of the vast majority on our side.

    2) Second, you accuse our side of not developing a biblical view of preservation against your view which does. In reality, if anyone is honest, they have to admit that the Bible never directly addresses the issue of whether or not God would supernaturally ‘preserve’ copies of His Word from any and all errors. And it certainly doesn’t address the issue of whether or not translations in other languages would be ‘preserved’ from errors. On your church website, you list various verses that supposedly address this topic. In reality though, none of these verses address the issues of the preservation of the original text. For example:

    a. Ps.12:6-7 – This verse says that the words of the Lord are flawless. All conservative evangelicals agree with this. However, this says nothing outside of the original text being accurate. It says nothing of whether God would with complete accuracy ‘preserve’ the originals throughout the process of copying and translating the text.

    b. Mt. 4:4 – This says that people live by the words that come out of God’s mouth. Again, all that this says is that God’s word is necessary to impart and sustain spiritual life beyond what food can do for one’s physical life. Even the mention of ‘words’ says nothing about the ‘preservation’ of words in the original language through the process of copying much less the words in another language once translated.

    c. Mt. 5:17-18 – These verses say that God came to fulfill the entirety of the Law and the Prophets. He will fulfill every ‘jot’ and ‘tittle’. This verse teaches that Jesus was the fulfillment of all that the OT Law and Prophets spoke explicitly and implicitly about him. He fulfilled the righteous demands of every nuance of the law, and he fulfilled every prophecy about him. The verses say nothing at all about whether or not God would supernaturally ‘preserve’ the wording of the original manuscripts in the process of copying them much less into another language. If it did say something about that, then you have a problem. The ‘jot’ referred to the Yod, the smallest of the Hebrew letters, and the ‘tittle’ referred to the dot above the Sin and the Shin distinguishing these two letters apart from each other. However, as Dave Mallinak acknowledged in his post, even the TR has textual variants a greater significance than a small letter or a small punctuation point above a letter. And so God has not preserved the copying process of the manuscripts to this level. If this verse said anything about the transmission of the text, than history would have proved it to be false.

    d. 1 Tim. 3:15 – This verse says that the church is the pillar and foundation of truth. This is said in the context of opposing false teachers and of making sure that leaders in the church (elders) are godly people committed to sound doctrine and teaching. The church has been given the role of protecting the truth of God’s Word and teaching it to the world as a light. It says nothing of whether or not the church has authority outside of God’s Word to ‘receive’ a particular version of the English Bible as the right one, or even whether or not the majority of the church has the God-ordained authority to endorse which books are canonical and which aren’t.

    e. 1 Cor. 4:1-4 – This verse is speaking about the Apostles, not the church as a whole. It says that the Apostles were entrusted with the mysteries of God’s revealed truth. As such, they are expected to be faithful in preaching that truth and making it known regardless of what others think of them. This too says nothing about whether the original texts would be transmitted with complete accuracy much less into the English language.

    I could go on like this, but I will not. Suffice it to say, what you have done is not to put together a comprehensive and biblical view of preservation from an accurate and fair exegesis of the pertinent texts. What you have done is started with a premise (the KJV is the only text, or the TR is the better text) and then you have taken verses out of context as proof texts to make your points. This is no different from what the cults do to prove that Jesus wasn’t God. We are told to be workman who rightly divide the Scriptures in order to be approved unto God. We are not told to be creative and loose with the Scriptures to find proof-texts for all of our pet doctrines.

    Finally, I just want to say that I found Dave Mallinak’s article “A Plea for an Updated King James Version” to be written in a wonderful spirit of grace. While I disagree with the KJVO slant, I felt like his article was very fair and objective concerning the important issues of non-biblical (not to be confused with unbiblical) Traditions vs. a genuine love for one’s neighbor. Thanks!

  17. October 2, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Mike,

    I happen to be in South Dakota until Friday with little time or computer access, so I can be only brief. I only skimmed your article, but I see problems:
    1) In representing what we wrote,
    2) In representing certain passages,
    3) In representing what KJVO is.

    We are KJVO because it translates into English the words that were agreed upon by the Lord’s churches. Only the NKJV uses the same text and our problem with the NKJV relates to the translation philosophy, understandably because the men who did the translation were not even TR/MT men, nor did they believe in preservation. They used the NKJV moniker as a marketing item.

    I believe in a Scriptural presentation of canonicity, not something about canonicity absent of Scripture. God’s churches are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3) and God said His Spirit would guide into all truth (John 16:13).

    I’ll deal with your treatment more in depth later, but thanks for your interaction.

  18. October 10, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Mike,

    God gave only one Bible. He didn’t give a multiple choice. Preservation isn’t up to science. God said He would do it and we believe it or not. Included in preservation is availability. I’m just the reporter. You can argue against English preservation somewhere else. English is a translation of what He preserved, so I won’t be dealing with any of your stuff about that.
    Mike, you said:
    1. The TR is itself the product of the same sort of textual criticism as is the eclectic text or the CT.

    I say:
    That is a commonly used argument that does not work if you believe Scriptural presuppositions. If you don’t, then we can’t argue anyway, because we really are coming from two different world views. The CT wasn’t available until 1881 so it can’t be God’s Words. If you can’t agree on that, based on God’s promise of preservation to every generation and general accessibility, then our problem is that we have two different understandings of Scripture. What you find about CT guys is that they think that criticism is ongoing.
    Mike, you said:
    Dave Mallinak’s article “Not All KJVO’s are Created Equal” acknowledges the existence of textual variants among TR Greek texts. With that in mind, how does one think that those differences were resolved?

    I say:
    The churches agreed on words. That’s our position. It’s a John 16:13 and 1 Timothy 3:15 position. The Bible is perfect. God said He would preserve it. The Holy Spirit used the churches to preserve it, and they settled on what God preserved. Without that, you have no settled text, no perfect text, and these are all Biblical requirements for the Bible. You should read the quotes from the men historically that I gave. That is our position, an older position, much older than your science position. What you write in that section looks like you didn’t read what we wrote.
    Mike, you said:
    2. I believe that it is wrong to imply that because people rely on ‘forensics and science’, that it implies that they do not rely on the Holy Spirit, or that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the process.

    I say:
    They don’t rely on the Holy Spirit. Have you looked at a CT apparatus? They rate the text based on their science of textual criticism, scoring the variants based on those laws.
    Mike, you said:
    Some of the critical standards that were used to determine a book’s canonicity were: 1) its author – whether or not it was written by an Apostle or one who was closely associated with an Apostle, 2) Did the book claim internally to be the Word of God, 3) Did the book contain any known errors, or did it contradict other accepted books of Scripture, and 4) Was it accepted by most of the church as being authoritative Scripture.

    I say:
    What you have written on canonicity is not Biblical theology. It’s something you might read in Guthrie’s New Testament Introduction—they’re just tradition with no authority. You didn’t flesh those principles out of Scripture, which is where us Baptists get our doctrine, our Bibliology. The churches agreed on the words and those were the ones they copied. That’s what you read in the New Testament. Did errors come into the text? Yes. But God said He would preserve the Scripture perfectly, so we go with that position.
    Mike, you said:
    There are still many reasons why I think that the presupposition that says that the KJV is the ‘only’ text because it was supposedly received as the only text by the English speaking church.

    I say:
    We usually don’t refer to a translation as a text, so I don’t know where you are getting this.
    Mike, you said:
    I want to say one more thing. I take issue with several of the things that you said in your article “Multiple Versions Only”.

    I say:
    So you don’t like Multiple Versions Only? Too derogatory. Join the club. We are original language perfect preservationists, but we get lumped into the nutty Ruckman wing with your KJVO title. I still take it, because it is essentially true. I believe in one Bible. You believe that many different Bibles are acceptable. Think about the uncertainty in your position.
    Mike, you said:
    Second, you accuse our side of not developing a biblical view of preservation against your view which does. In reality, if anyone is honest, they have to admit that the Bible never directly addresses the issue of whether or not God would supernaturally ‘preserve’ copies of His Word from any and all errors.

    I say:
    Like the caveman in the Geico commercials, I say, “What?” You loaded that last sentence with so many qualifiers it makes my head spin. We’ve never defended your strawman position. We never state it. We didn’t write it. Read Dr. Jeff Voetglin’s post last month about the “words,” from Jeremiah. That will help you understand.
    Mike, you said:
    a. Ps.12:6-7 – This verse says that the words of the Lord are flawless. All conservative evangelicals agree with this.

    I say:
    Respectfully Mike, but this shows quite a bit of ignorance on your part. Most evangelicals say that Ps. 12:6, 7 teaches the preservation of the poor and needy way back in v. 5. They’re wrong, but that’s what they say. They refuse to look at two important grammatical points, first, the proximity of the referring pronoun to the noun it refers, and, second, the purposeful gender disagreement between the masculine pronoun to a feminine noun when speaking of the Words of God in the Hebrew language.
    Mike, you said:
    b. Mt. 4:4 – This says that people live by the words that come out of God’s mouth. Again, all that this says is that God’s word is necessary to impart and sustain spiritual life beyond what food can do for one’s physical life. Even the mention of ‘words’ says nothing about the ‘preservation’ of words in the original language through the process of copying much less the words in another language once translated.

    I say:
    We would have very little doctrine if we explained away verses like you do this one. Until MVO men needed to explain away preservation did we come to these new fangled interpretations. Man lives by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. It’s obvious in the context that it is Scripture.
    Mike, you said:
    c. Mt. 5:17-18 – These verses say that God came to fulfill the entirety of the Law and the Prophets. He will fulfill every ‘jot’ and ‘tittle’. This verse teaches that Jesus was the fulfillment of all that the OT Law and Prophets spoke explicitly and implicitly about him. He fulfilled the righteous demands of every nuance of the law, and he fulfilled every prophecy about him. The verses say nothing at all about whether or not God would supernaturally ‘preserve’ the wording of the original manuscripts in the process of copying them much less into another language. If it did say something about that, then you have a problem. The ‘jot’ referred to the Yod, the smallest of the Hebrew letters, and the ‘tittle’ referred to the dot above the Sin and the Shin distinguishing these two letters apart from each other.

    I say:
    Ugh. I was a Biblical language major. I took 8 years of Greek and 2 of Hebrew. The yodh is the smallest consonant, and the historical position of believers for the “tittle” (keraia) is that it is the vowel points. Either way, God said the very letters which He wrote would not pass away. You left that out above. All of the law will be fulfilled. No jots or tittles will pass away. What you do is explain away Scripture to back up your novel position.
    Mark, you said:
    d. 1 Tim. 3:15 – This verse says that the church is the pillar and foundation of truth. This is said in the context of opposing false teachers and of making sure that leaders in the church (elders) are godly people committed to sound doctrine and teaching.

    I say:
    God gave His Words to the church to keep. The church preserves and propagates those Words. You don’t have the truth without Words, unless you are neo-orthodox, and that is a position that they take.
    Mark, you said:
    e. 1 Cor. 4:1-4 – This verse is speaking about the Apostles, not the church as a whole. It says that the Apostles were entrusted with the mysteries of God’s revealed truth. As such, they are expected to be faithful in preaching that truth and making it known regardless of what others think of them. This too says nothing about whether the original texts would be transmitted with complete accuracy much less into the English language.

    I say:
    I included this whole quote, because at the end, you go back to the MVO strawman. You don’t argue against our position, a Biblical one. We argue for the preservation of letters and Words in the language in which they are written based on Biblical presuppositions. You keep saying “truth,” as it relates to God’s Words. I preached expositionally and I preach Words. I don’t preach “truth.” God inspired Words, not truth. You don’t have truth without Words. Your “truth” position is not a Biblical one. Regarding 1 Cor. 4:1-4, I believe it is a nice addition to a theology of preservation, but there are many more preservation verses that are better than that one. We really didn’t get into exegeting the texts in our month of posts. I had already done that in an entire book that I’ll mention below.
    Mike,
    You would be helped by getting a copy of Thou Shalt Keep Them. I think someone as yourself would find this article interesting to help you become unbiased. http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2007/08/so-does-bible-mean-what-it-says-about.html We will be getting the second edition soon (this month). It is a Biblical theology of perfect preservation, exposing key passages on preservation in their context.

  19. Mike Hontz
    October 15, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Kent,

    I don’t really know how to respond to many of your statements. You say things that sound good, but they ignore the core issues. For example, you say that God gave one Bible. Of course all Christians believe that, but it completely misses the real issue. The issue I am challenging is how one deals with the reality that there are no two Greek manuscripts that agree with each other as to the exact wording, even among those behind the Textus Receptus. You mention verses that speak about God INSPIRING the actual words (which nobody is denying) and then deduce that this proves that He must have PRESERVED the actual words even though in reality no two manuscripts in existence today agree 100% as to what those words are. And so it is obvious that God hasn’t preserved the actual words in the copying process, and so this forces you to assume that he must have preserved them in the church’s ‘acceptance’ of the correct text.

    You say that the churches agreed on WORDS. You make this statement but it simply isn’t true. When did the churches get together and discuss the various manuscripts and come to an agreement on the correct wording? When was there a church council to discuss the correct wording when comparing the Greek manuscripts? Never! The church corporately had nothing to do with these decisions. Erasmus made these decisions independently of the church. I challenge to actually explain how the church corporately accepted the rendering of 1 John 5:7 in the TR of which Erasmus himself didn’t even want to include since it was found in none of the Greek manuscripts he used. He translated it from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek since he had not Greek manuscripts available to rely on for that rendering. Just because the church used the TR for several hundred years doesn’t prove that they ‘Received’ it or ‘Authorized’ it. It only proves that it is the one they had available to them and they deemed it acceptable.

    You also don’t interact with how the ‘science’ of textual criticism that is used by people in our camp is any different than the ‘science’ of textual criticism used by Erasmus and Schrivener. You say that it is a common argument against your position, and that is for obvious reasons. Please explain how the process they used to come up with what they felt was the most accurate Greek text is significantly different from what modern textual critics use on the other side of the debate?

    You criticize my list of qualifications that were used to determine the canon because it is something one might read in Guthrie’s NT Intro. You say that they are “tradition with no authority.” You claim that there is a biblical doctrine of canonicity. That is impossible. How can one determine from the Bible which books belong in the Bible? There is no way around the clear circular reasoning that would be required to make such a conclusion. One has to assume that a book belongs to the canon before one can use it as part of the criteria to determine which books belong. You are being academically dishonest when you try to assert that that the tests of canonicity are clearly stated in the Bible. While there are certainly some criteria there such as Christ’s apparent acceptance and use of the OT and Peter’s approval on the writings of Paul (2 Peter 2:15-16), there is nothing to say whether the book of Hebrews belonged in the canon or the book of Jude or James. Likewise, there is nothing in the Bible to explicitly exclude some of the apocryphal books of which the church corporately was not in agreement on for 1500 years as to whether they belonged in the canon or not. The book of Jude even alludes to the apocryphal Book of Enoch in a way that could easily be taken as an endorsement of the work as a whole (a biblical evidence), yet the council of Trent in 1545 rejected this book as being part of the biblical canon. You are not being honest when you say that Baptists come to their conclusions concerning the canon simply from the Bible. This is logically and historically wrong.

    You take issue with my statement that you begin with the presupposition that the KJV is the ‘only’ text because you say that you don’t refer to a translation as a text. I think it was clear that by KJV I was referring to the Greek text behind the KJV. And if we are going to get technical, the KJV was not a TRANSLATION either, it was a REVISION of the Bishops Bible which was a revision of the Great Bible which was itself a revision.

    Next, you responded to my objection to your title ‘Multiple Versions Only’ by implying that I think it is too derogatory. But you completely missed my point. I don’t object to it because it is DEROGATORY but because it is NONSENSICAL. You can’t accuse people of believing in ‘MULTIPLE’ versions and use the title ‘ONLY’. Call me a Multiple Versionist; that’s fine. But to imply that we are multiple versions ‘ONLY’ makes no sense. You then go on to say that I believe in many different Bibles. This is not true. I believe that there are many valid TRANSLATIONS of the Bible with varying degrees of accuracy, but there was only one original. From your own comments, you agree likewise. You say that you are not in agreement with Ruckman and his crew because you are not tied to the KJV, but to the Greek text behind it. I assume then that you believe that each of the various revisions of the KJV from 1611 to the present one, and so does this mean that you believe in multiple Bibles? I simply believe that by examining all of the evidence, including the oldest Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, it will help us to get closer to the original than by refusing to take many of the oldest manuscripts into account as your view does.

    Concerning your response to the passages of Scripture that I commented on.

    Ps. 12:6-7 – When I said that all conservative evangelicals agree with ‘this’, I was not referring to the interpretation of the verse, though I can see why it would have appeared as such. I meant that all evangelicals agree that God’s words are flawless. I don’t know of any true evangelical who disagrees with the statement that the original documents were inspired and that the Bible is therefore flawless. What Psalm 12:6-7 does not address is whether or not those words of the original would be flawlessly preserved for thousands of years after they were first written down. A comparison of the present manuscripts in existence seem to argue strongly that they were not. This was my point; a point which you didn’t interact with or legitimately answer from the context of Ps. 12 itself. What from the context causes you to use this verse to speak about something beyond the original manuscripts?

    Mt. 4:4 – You accuse me of explaining away this verse. Please show me from the context how this has anything to do with whether God would preserve the original wording through the process of copying, allowing for textual variants to arise in the text, but promising that the church would get it right in the end. Jesus is responding to the temptation to eat physical bread while on a fast. His point in context is exactly what I said, it takes more than mere physical food to sustain life. One must also ingest God’s Word (the Bible) in order to sustain his spiritual life which is more important. I never said that this wasn’t a reference to God’s Word; I merely said that it wasn’t commenting at all on the issue of the preservation of the copies as you seem to assert by listing on your webpage. You can’t just make the claim that I am “explaining away the text” without backing it up from the context.

    Mt. 5:17-18 – You say that you were a biblical language major. Great, so was I. My graduate degree is in biblical exegesis. I hardly think though that it takes a degree in biblical exegesis to understand the basic idea of Matthew 5. I said too that the ‘jot’ was a reference to the Yod – the smallest Hebrew consonant and that the ‘tittle’ was a reference to the punctuation point above the sin and the shin – a small dot that distinguishes these two letters from each other. To some degree, though, scholars cannot be certain of this. Nor does it matter since the point of the verse doesn’t change. The question is, was Jesus teaching that through the copying process over the ages that no letter or vowel pointing would be lost? The context argues vehemently against this. Jesus is not defending the accuracy of his own process of copying Scriptures when he says that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets. This was not the issue with the Pharisees. Rather, it seems clear from the context that he was arguing about whether or not he was coming to do away with the righteous demands of the law. Jesus is saying that he came to fulfill the righteous standards of the law to the finest point. The ‘jot’ and the ‘tittle’ is a figure of speech. Again, I am arguing from the CONTEXT; you seem to be arguing on the basis of your presuppositions. Where is your evidence from the context that Jesus was saying anything about the preservation of the letters in the process of copying manuscripts? As I said in the previous post, if this verse is talking about God preserving the very consonants and punctuation points of the Law and the Prophets in the process of copying throughout the ages, than history has proven this wrong since today’s manuscripts do not agree in every place concerning the right ‘jots’ and ‘tittles’.

    1 Tim. 3:15 – Again, you don’t interact with my arguments here, you simply try to associate me with neo-orthodoxy as a smokescreen. I could easily say of your position that the Mormon church recognizes no other English translation of the Bible than the KJV, as does your position. Therefore you must be associated with promoting Mormonism. These are the sorts of statements that are meant simply to be argumentative and diversionary. There is no element of truth to them. I again argued from the context of the passage to determine what Paul meant by that one line about the church being “the pillar and ground of the truth.” In the beginning of the book of 1 Timothy (1:3-11), Paul exhorts Timothy to charge others not to teach any doctrine that was contrary to that which was not edifying or which was contrary to that which was delivered to them by Christ and the Apostles. There were some who wanted to be teachers in the church, but who weren’t accurate in their understanding of foundational doctrines of the faith (1:6-7). Paul charges Timothy to ‘go to war’ and fight for the faith that was delivered to him by Paul of which others had departed from. Because of this, Paul set up rules and standards for how teaching should be done in the church and how the services should operate. Women were prohibited from being teachers but were to learn in silence and in submission (2:11-15). Also there were to be high standards for teachers and leaders in a church. Not just any man who wanted to be an elder was qualified (3:1-13). This is the contextual background to Paul’s statement that the church was to be a place that functioned as the “pillar and ground of the truth.” His point seems clear that the church was not to be a place where false doctrine was tolerated, but where the leadership was committed and qualified to rightly interpret Scripture and to pass on the truths given to them from Christ and the Apostles. What this passage doesn’t say is that the church was somehow being authorized to go beyond the teachings of Scripture and declare one Greek text to be the preserved text over and against another Greek text. This is something that you are reading into the passage on the basis of your presuppositions about the TR. Paul’s authorial intent in this passage had nothing to do with how you are trying to use the verse. So you can accuse me of explaining away verses, but any honest reader of what I am saying knows that this is not true. The question is, are you explaining away the context so that you can make this verse say something completely foreign to the original author’s intent? That seems to be a legitimate accusation in my opinion.

  20. Dave Mallinak
    October 15, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Mike, I’ll jump in on this discussion briefly in order to make one point.

    Presuppositional Apologists have repeatedly made a point of saying that “all reasoning is circular reasoning.” This is because reasoning must have a starting point, a foundational assumption from which it proceeds.

    On the issue of Preservation, we have repeatedly made the point that in spite of their presuppositional approach to apologetics (which is the only Scriptural approach to a defense of Scripture), those who hold to your position on the doctrine of Preservation are inconsistent.

    Much of what you wrote above demonstrates our point. You don’t understand how God could possibly have preserved His Word perfectly through human copyists. And since this doesn’t make sense to you, you don’t believe He did. You don’t understand how God could possibly have preserved His Word perfectly and allowed variants, so that means He didn’t. Your position stands on human reasoning rather than the authority of Scripture.

    So, when you say (as you did),

    you seem to be arguing on the basis of your presuppositions.

    We say, “you are correct.” We are. Guilty as charged.

    And further, we have explained how this is possible.

    So, here is my question for you:

    Given your position on preservation, what warrant do you have for arguing that ANY verse, ANY passage, ANY book of the Bible should be included in the Bible or considered to be the Inspired Word of God?

  21. Mike Hontz
    October 16, 2007 at 8:21 am

    Dave,

    You are not totally wrong in what you said about my argument on preservation, but you are not completely right either. You say that I don’t understand how God could have preserved his word through human copyists. That is not true. God is sovereign and could easily have worked through his Holy Spirit to control the process so as to keep the copyists from miscopying anything. That isn’t hard to understand. Furthermore, if the Bible clearly taught what your camp says it teaches, that God did in fact preserve the text from any and all errors through the copying process, or that the church would make infallible decisions by their choice of which text(s) to copy and pass on, than I would accept a view of preservation similar to yours in spite of the textual variants. My problem is not that I don’t understand how it could be true, or that I don’t accept the Bible’s teaching, I simply don’t find that the Bible teaches this at all. This is why I have listed about a half dozen of the most common verses used to support your position and challenged the fact that they never intended to say the things that your side claims that they say. I have examined the context surrounding those verses and concluded that they are saying something completely unrelated to whether or not the words of Scripture would be preserved throughout the copying process.

    In addition to the absence of this teaching in Scripture is the absence of any valid evidence to this from both history and logic. And so I have raised the obvious facts concerning the manuscripts today and the facts concerning how even the TR came to us and the processes behind it to show that your arguments are inconsistent with the historical facts.

    Concerning presuppositions, yes, we all have them and argue on that basis. All believers make various presuppositions such as: God exists, God has communicated to us through His Word, the Bible is God-breathed and therefore reliable, etc. However, what your side seems to be doing is making what I believe to be very UNWARRANTED and non-biblical (not necessarily unbiblical though) presuppositions. Even this is not a travesty, to hold to non-biblical presuppositions and argue them. However, when you begin to quote Scriptures out of context (in my opinion), then I believe it becomes an invalid argument. To accuse one’s opponents of not developing a ‘BIBLICAL BIBLIOLOGY’ of preservation assumes that such a doctrine can be developed from the Bible. The only presupposition that would be needed then to affirm your position is that the Bible is true. After that, no presuppositions should be needed if it is a biblical theology. But I am arguing for presuppositions on your part that go way beyond simply whether or not the Bible is true. Your side makes assumptions regarding the inerrancy of human copyists or at least of the church corporately in their choice of which Greek text to use in spite on having no clear passages of Scripture to support those views and in spite of the clear evidence that there were mistakes in the process of human copying (textual variants) and in spite of the fact that the church corporately has not always made infallible choices such as on issues of doctrine, issues relating to the canon for the first 3/4 of church history, etc. I could acknowledge the validity of your presuppositions if either the Bible clearly stated them (since I too presuppose the Bible’s accuracy) or if the facts of history and logic seemed to demand them (as there are plenty of things that the Bible doesn’t address, but that are nonetheless true and factual). However, I am convinced that neither of these are on your side of the argument.

    Concerning your final question, I believe that I have already alluded to this in my previous two posts. I listed the criteria that was used by the church leaders at the Council of Trent in the middle of the 16th century. In general, Jesus seems to have accepted the OT by his own use of it and the fact that he did not challenge the validity of any of those books during his career. Paul, Peter and John were all Apostles and as such would seem to carry the authority of an Apostle to teach and write Scripture. Most of the other authors of the NT were likewise close associates with the Apostles (Luke, Mark, James, Jude) and as such would be men with access to the Apostles’ teaching. Mark specifically seems to have been recording the teaching of Peter and Luke that of Paul. Besides this, the internal evidence of books like Hebrews seems to assume that it was written as an inspired book. Finally, the church throughout history in general seems to have accepted these books as Scripture, although this is certainly not completely accurate across the spectrum as even men such as Martin Luther in the 16th century still did not accept Revelation as being on the same level as the Gospels.

    I find it comforting that protestant believers have not seriously challenged the decisions by the councils of Trent for the past 500 years. And so I do accept the canon as we view it today on the basis of faith that these men did make the right decision in light of the criteria that they used to discriminate between say the apocryphal books and those of the OT. All one has to do is read the apocryphal books and they will find that they are filled with historical errors or claims that would distinguish them from the sort of claims made by true Scripture. For example, the book of Tobit is clearly a work of fiction since the content of the book would require that the main character be several hundred years old in light of the events that he was alive to experience. Also, consider some of these claims from some of the apocryphal books.

    1. In the prologue of Ecclesiasticus, it says, “. . . my grandfather Jesus, who had applied himself diligently to the study of the law, the prophets, and the other writings of our ancestors, and had gained a considerable proficiency in them, was moved to compile a book OF HIS OWN on the themes of learning and wisdom, in order that, with this further help, scholars might make greater progress in their studies by living as the law directs. You are asked, then, to read with sympathetic attention, and to make allowances wherever you think that, in spite of all the devoted work that has been put into the translation, some of the expressions I have used are INADEQUATE.”

    2. The author of 2nd Maccabees began his writings by saying, “These five books of Jason I shall ATTEMPT to summarize in a single work; for I was struck by the mass of statistics and the difficulty which the sheer bulk of the material occasions to those wishing to master the narratives of this history. I have TRIED to provide ENTERTAINMENT for those who peruse for pleasure, and aid for students who must commit the facts to memory, and in general a service to readers. The task which I have taken on MYSELF in making this summary is no easy one; it means hard work and late nights . . .” (2 Mac. 2:23-26). The author concludes his book by saying the following: “At this point I shall bring my work to an end. If it be found to be well written and aptly composed, that is what I MYSELF aimed at; if SUPERFICIAL and MEDIOCRE, IT WAS THE BEST I COULD DO.”

    Clearly these works do not have the internal integrity of the rest of the books of the OT or the NT. And so it does require presuppositions that go beyond the direct claims of Scripture to determine that the canon we have today is the correct one, but it is a presupposition that seems justified and valid in light of the extra-biblical evidence.

  22. October 16, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Mike,

    Thanks for arguing here. I do hope that you want to come to the truth on this. We didn’t make an in depth Biblical presentation here in part because we have written on this in a 320 page book, which is an exegesis of the biblical texts on the doctrine of preservation. It is a biblical theology of perfect preservation of Scripture. I don’t find my view of these passages to be different than what I read others historically to have written on them.

    We are likely to have some major differences even because of how we view the nature of the church. I don’t consider Roman Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation to represent church history. I see the perpetuity of the true church in Scripture and with it the perpetuity of God’s Words. I have taught history for 18 years and I know how history works. The people that dominate politically get to write the history, so I can’t completely trust what they wrote. You go to the Council of Trent to defend your views. Do you realize that at the Council of Trent that Roman Catholicism called accursed those who proclaimed a true gospel? I don’t trust them at all.

    Since the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, I look at what the churches copied. The Byzantine manuscripts, where Paul started his churches, are reflected in the Textus Receptus. Believers copied the books that they agreed were Scripture. Churches are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16). The Holy Spirit guided them into all truth (John 16:13). I choose to believe a miracle of preservation took place. Some like the word providential better. I don’t mind it, but I don’t see providence and miracle to be different. Neither do many other older commentators and theologians when writing on providence and miracles. The Geneva Bible passed off the scene for a reason, and it wasn’t because of readability. The churches agreed on those Words. I believe that God performed a miracle in guiding His churches to the correct Words through the Holy Spirit. I don’t see in Scripture the “restored text” attitude, but a “received text” attitude. I don’t disagree with your break-down of 1 Timothy 3:15, except that it is more axiomatic than what you make it. God’s church is the depository of truth, which can’t be separated in Scripture from Words. His church protects and propogates, passes down to the next generation, like the Old Testament tabernacle/temple was to do. This is laid out very nicely in our book Thou Shalt Keep Them in a few long chapters. I don’t want to rewrite them here. I told you about natsar and shamar and tareo and doing a study on those and you can see how God said He would keep His Words.

    Matthew 4:4 functions predictively to say that we can live by every Word that proceeds from God’s mouth. If God expects us to live by every Word, we would assume that we would have every Word. Those Words couldn’t be the CT, because they weren’t available until 1881. Those Words would be found in the various editions of the TR, which God’s people homogenized into one edition behind the KJV and used those Words for 400 years.

    We have plenty of verses that teach preservation and God’s people have historically believed in preservation. We believe in the preservation of Words, not the paper or one particular copy. God guided His people to the right Words. They were the ones preserved and ultimately the ones that His churches settled upon.

    Mike, this is the only explanation that fits with Scripture. You can try to carve up the explantion with your historical materials, Erasmus, etc., but you don’t offer a Scriptural alternative. Instead, you leave us with errors and uncertainty, which is not what I read in the Bible.

  23. Mike Hontz
    October 17, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Kent,

    I have enjoyed our interaction as well. Obviously we will have to eventually just agree to disagree. I believe that you and the rest at Jackhammer are sincere believers who love the Lord and are committed to following Christ and obeying his word as best you know how. I also appreciate your spirit. Even though we are both passionate about our convictions, there seems to be true and genuine love for each other. That is my position, and I sense that it is yours too. I have benefited from our discussion as I believe I understand your position a little better.

    I would make one comment in my own defense regarding the council of Trent. I am no fan of the councils anymore than any of you are. I don’t believe that the councils were authoritative nor were they always accurate in what they said. The only exception is the Jerusalem council which was attended by the Apostles and included in the Scriptures. However, it seems that they came to the right conclusion regarding the canon as both you and I would hold to their decision as being right. However, when you take a position that the church at large has accepted the TR, that is pretty difficult to separate from the church of England and the Catholic church at large as you are well aware of since Erasmus himself was a member of the Roman Catholic church (though he was by no means a model Catholic). Furthermore, it was both the protestants and the Catholics that served on the committee for the KJV and as the intent behind the KJV was to reunite the protestants and the Catholics under one Bible.

    And so I agree that the true church is representative among those such as the anabaptists who held to salvation by faith apart from works. However, this group was in the minority, and in some sense, the Catholic church as we know it has a better claim on being in the tradition of the ‘true church’ in light of history and tradition, even though they do not have such a claim from the perspective of the Bible and biblical theology. I just think that it is difficult to take a position of accepting the TR on the basis of its acceptance by ‘the church’ (a church that was intricately linked to the catholic church and the reformation protestants) and then try to distance oneself from ‘the church’ in areas of doctrine that are contrary to your beliefs. Maybe you have been able to do this legitimately, but as someone who has not studied your precise position on that, it seems a little contradictory. Like I said earlier, I would probably be in pretty close agreement with you concerning who historically belonged to the true universal church. Yet I am not tied to a doctrinal position of preservation that forces me to affirm a particular Greek text on the basis of its being organized and used by a group composed primarily of those within the ‘false’ church. These are just some thoughts.

    Finally, you say that I don’t offer a Scriptural alternative. I agree. And I will be the first to admit that I wish that there was a Scriptural alternative which would eliminate the need for textual criticism. Frankly, I wish that not only had the Spirit preserved the original manuscripts of Scripture, but I wish that He had worked in such a way so as to preserve the correct interpretation of those manuscripts. I wish that the church as a whole was in complete agreement over issues such as women in ministry, divorce and remarriage, acceptable methods of worship, eschatology, etc. I wish that when a person got saved, that the Spirit’s work in illuminating Scripture brought them supernaturally to ‘accept’ the right interpretation. But this just doesn’t correlate with the Bible’s teaching on illumination nor with reality. If it was this way, we wouldn’t have to spend hours of our time studying the Bible and wrestling with difficult passages that sometimes we just can’t be sure of whether or not they mean this or that. But just because this would solve the problem and eliminate the need for studying and debating the right interpretations of passages doesn’t justify that I accept it. The same is true of textual criticism. TC is simply one more step in the process of studying to show myself approved unto God, a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed. Part of studying Scripture requires in some passages a look at the manuscript evidence and a wrestling with which variant makes most sense in light of the surrounding context and the other variants. I would love to simply trust that Erasmus, or the church at large got this one right, but Scripture doesn’t say that they did. And so for me, I believe that it requires at times to wrestle with the known manuscript evidence before I wrestle with things such as the culture, the literary genre, the context, etc. in order to rightly divide Scripture.

    And so while this view that I accept does leave me with uncertainty as to the correct textual rendering, I don’t think it is any different than the uncertainty over interpretation issues. The Roman Catholic church asks its people to accept the interpretation of passages by ‘the church’ according to past tradition and history. They likewise argue that individuals reading and interpreting Scripture open the door of uncertainty. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go to a pope (God’s authoritative spokesman on earth) and get the authoritative interpretation on every passage? Than guys like you and Dave wouldn’t have to debate the issue of divorce and remarriage. While this would take the uncertainty out of the equation, it doesn’t prove that it is the better system or one with fewer errors. We both know the sorts of errors that the Catholic church has propagated over history. I think you see my point even if you don’t agree with me. Certainty and precision are great so long as they are authoritative. I simply see no Scriptural evidence that Erasmus or ‘the church’ was authoritative in their choice of the TR, nor did they claim to be making an authoritative decision on those issues. And hence I can’t accept your arguments.

    Thanks for the interaction. It has been helpful and sharpening to me.

  24. October 17, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    However, it seems that they came to the right conclusion regarding the canon as both you and I would hold to their decision as being right.

    Mike, how can you say that about the Council of Trent? It was THAT council that declared the apocrypha as true Scripture. That is neither the Protestant nor Baptist position – and I am sure all here would sincerely disagree with the RC church’ position on what is Scripture and what is not.

  25. October 17, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Wow – still reading your post. It has a lot of errors in it.

    There were no Roman Catholics involved in the translation of the KJV – they were busy translating their Douey-Rheims translation.

    Erasmus was a Catholic who did not believe in Catholicism – the problem with him was that he did not leave the Catholic church like other Protestant reformers did.

    the intent behind the KJV was to reunite the protestants and the Catholics under one Bible.

    Read the Preface or Foreward of the KJV – their intent was to stand against and expose the RC church, not to unite with it.

    P.S. It was the remnant churches – not church – that stood for and preserved the true text throughout history.

  26. Mike Hontz
    October 17, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Jerry,

    You are right! I stand corrected. I was operating primarily on my memory, and for some reason I was under the impression that the council of Trent recognized the same books as we do. Obviously I was not arguing for the apocryphal books as my previous posts clearly state the reasons why those books were rejected by Protestants as well as why the OT as we know it was accepted as Scripture.

    Concerning your comments about the Roman Catholic church, technically you are correct. It was the Anglican church (The Church of England) and not the ROMAN Catholic church. However, doctrinally, there is no substantial difference between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. King James of England wanted a translation (revision) in English that would unite Anglicans and Protestants.

    Concerning Erasmus, I clearly stated that he was not a model Catholic. The point was that he didn’t agree with them on every point, and in fact they didn’t like him. But they did tolerate him, and he never left the church. And so he WAS a catholic that retained his membership in that church in spite of his problems with their leadership. I ask you, will you state that you believe that Erasmus was part of the ‘true church.’ Did he believe in salvation by faith apart from works? No he didn’t.

    So two of your three criticisms are technically correct, and I acknowledge that I mispoke. However the substance of my arguments remain unchanged. Your camp would no sooner call the Anglicans the ‘true church’ than you would Roman Catholics. If you are going to challenge my arguments, that is fine. But please challenge the substance of those arguments and not just the technicalities. There are several things that I challenged Kent to answer in a few blogs ago, particularly concerning how your camp can state that the church at large had anything to do with ‘receiving the words of Scripture’ in the issue of 1 John 5:7. In what way did the church have anything to do with accepting that notorious passage? Just because they used the KJV Bible which was based on the TR does not lead to the conclusion that they ‘Received’ or ‘Accepted’ the very choices that Erasmus made when composing the TR. Also, I have yet to get an answer on how Erasmus’ methodology and Scriveners methodology were significantly different than textual critics today. If you have an answer, then please give it. Otherwise, I’ll assume that you don’t have one and that your statements regarding the ‘science’ and ‘forensics’ of the CT are a smokescreen.

  27. Mike Marshall
    October 30, 2007 at 6:14 am

    To Mike Hontz

    “Second, you accuse our side of not developing a biblical view of preservation against your view which does. In reality, if anyone is honest, they have to admit that the Bible never directly addresses the issue of whether or not God would supernaturally ‘preserve’ copies of His Word from any and all errors.”

    Mike, If I may jump into this a bit late, and say, what???? Preservation is taught Mike, directly. In Exodus 31:18, God wrote the Law with His own finger. Moses went down the mount and broke the stones. In Exodus 34 Moses is back up on the mount, and in Exodus 34:27 we see God dictating to Moses, and Moses writing that very same Law again.

    On this subject of Dictation, Mike, what language did Adam speak? Ok, how about Cain, Abel, Noah, or anyone prior to Babel? No one knows what it was, adn there is no evidence that the original language survied. So Mike, how was it possible that God could dictate those events and conversations to Moses in Hebrew when those conversations did not take place in Hebrew? How could they possibly be accurate? And if they are not, then how can we possibly have any confidence at all that God is Creator of Heaven and Earth? How can we stand with any confidence against the Evolutionist and state that the world was made is six literal 24 hour days? Without preservation Mike, we have nothing. We have no more authority than the Buddhist or the Sikh or the Muslim.

    We also have the Lord himself, standing in the temple in Luke chapter 4, and reading Isaiah. Considering the fact that He was in the temple, I would have to believe that he was reading from the Hebrew in Hebrew, yet Luke recorded it in Greek, and now we have both to compare in English. Are there variations? Yes. But a careful study of both will reveal that no meaning or intent was lost. No “prophecy of the scripture” was lost. Again, Preservation is directly taught here.

    You made a point about the jot and tittle. I don’t say this with the intent of being rude, but there are times when we strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. In the text, Mike, if the Lord made the statement that he would fulfil every jot and tittle of the Law, as you stated He was to do, how would we know He did it if we do not have every jot and tittle to compare his life to? I’ll wait……… Hmmm… No preserved word means we cannot prove that this is the very Christ.

    Futhermore Mike, this very text above states “till heaven and earth pass”, a clear reference to the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 22. He stated in this verse that His word would still be here. Again, Preservation directly taught.

    I have not even touched the multitude of verses in which God specifically said he would keep His word to all generations, and I could carry on Mike, but if you don’t accept this part, there is no point.

    I would like to leave you with two questions to answer. You need not reply if don’t want to, but the study would profit you (or anyone else that wants to do it):

    1. Who was Jehoakim, and what did he do (I’ll help you out here, it was in Jeremiah 36), and why was he left out of Matthew chapter 1?

    2. Inspiration means God-breathed, or the “breath of God”. There are only two objects in the bible that came by the breath of God. What is are they, and what is the parallel between them?

  28. Anvil
    October 31, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Mike Marshall states:

    You made a point about the jot and tittle. I don’t say this with the intent of being rude, but there are times when we strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. In the text, Mike, if the Lord made the statement that he would fulfil every jot and tittle of the Law, as you stated He was to do, how would we know He did it if we do not have every jot and tittle to compare his life to? I’ll wait……… Hmmm… No preserved word means we cannot prove that this is the very Christ.

    Not to be rude, but that verse doesn’t promise that we will be able to prove he fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law, it simply states that he will, regardless of whether each (or any) person has access to the original jots and tittles. It also states that those jots and tittles will not pass away, but again no promise is made there that any particular person will have them. And by the way, most of those who believe in preservation in the multiplicity of manuscripts don’t believe that any of those jots or tittles have passed away either. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to work to know which of the variations is correct.

    You also write:

    Are there variations? Yes. But a careful study of both will reveal that no meaning or intent was lost. No “prophecy of the scripture” was lost. Again, Preservation is directly taught here.

    Many of us believe in preservation of this form as well. This is a far cry from claiming that the exact compilation of texts behind the KJV is preserved jot/tittle perfect. In the quote you reference from Mike Hontz, the key word is “copies.” Since there are many copies of God’s Word in existence that do not agree with each other, it is clear that his point is correct. God promises to preserve his Word, not necessarily any particular copy of that Word. What he breathed out is perfect, something we cannot claim for the copying work done in the centuries since God’s work of inspiration was finished.

  29. October 31, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Anvil,

    If you read God’s Word in our Hands, where in huge letters on the title page they say their position is “multiplicity of the manuscripts,” they say in the book that we don’t have certain Old Testament words in the original languages (Hebrew copies). So the multiplicity view presently is that we don’t have all the jots and tittles in the multiplicity. Are you saying you disagree with them? Why? History and human reasoning is on their side. Are you taking a fideistic leap in the dark? I wrote about this recently on here and you didn’t comment. The GWIOH men don’t believe we have yet found Hebrew manuscripts that contain some of the OT words. Again, do you take the same position?

    The multiplicity view also contradicts three other teachings of Scripture regarding preservation: availability of every Word, the canonicity of Words, and the perfection of Scripture. Should I assume you deny those doctrines?

    All of the copies of the Textus Receptus agree today. All the copies of the Ben Chayyim agree today. There are thousands of printed edition copies that agree with one another. You are saying that hand written copies disagree with each other. Minority texts mainly disagree with other minority texts and with the majority text; however, there is far more agreement in the Byzantine manuscripts and the TR editions that were a basis of the great English Bibles were extremely close, but then churches settled on a standard text for 400 years, the same one found in the identical thousands of printed copies. What was the Holy Spirit doing at that time? Guiding them into “some” truth? You ultimately have to make a choice that God did not do a miracle (providence, same thing) to ensure a perfect Bible, but instead He left it to human forensics to “restore” a Bible that is 93-98% accurate. That’s your choice. It is one of human reasoning and it is what you choose, not based upon Scripture.

  30. Anvil
    October 31, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I didn’t comment on “God’s Word in our Hands,” because I have not yet read it and do not own a copy. I’d like to get one and get around to it, but time always gets in the way.

    Re: availability. We have discussed this before, but I do not believe in availability the way you do. The very fact that there are many millions of people who have been born, lived, and died without seeing a single copy of the scriptures, even a “corrupt” one, speaks against your view of it. Do you believe God will hold them accountable for his words? I do, so it seems obvious to me the fact that we must live by his words does not guarantee us access to them. Whatever is meant by availability in scripture, it does not mean that any one of us must have God’s Word. Clearly God can and will hold us accountable, even if we have not seen so much as John 3:16.

    Re: critical vs. TR. As we have already also discussed, I would consider myself TR-preferred, as I believe those texts to be more accurate. However, even if I consider only the various TR texts, none of them agree in every single jot and tittle, so again, I’m left with the fact that preservation must not apply in the way those in your camp think it does. Clearly jot and tittle preservation does not apply to translations anyway, so English versions cannot be said to be preserved in the same way, no matter your view of preservation.

    Re: perfection of scripture. I don’t know exactly what you mean by that doctrine, but I believe scripture was perfect as God breathed it out. To the extent that any copy we possess reflects that perfection exactly, we can call it perfect, but if it differs in any point (even a jot/tittle) then the copy as a whole cannot be called perfect, even though God’s Word (as settled in heaven) is.

    Re: guidance into all truth. I’ll admit I don’t know that I understand that scripture fully. For LCO-types like yourself, I can’t see that any single church at any time in history has had the complete truth at all times. Even the first church in Jerusalem had its problems and disagreements over doctrine. However, I’m also not convinced that the greater “church” at large (for those of us who see at least some manifestation of the UC) can say that it has all truth either. As long as there is disagreement on interpretation (and while I would agree with you that only one interpretation on any scripture can ever be the right one, I don’t believe that they are all equally perspicuous), we clearly do not understand all truth. Further, God’s truth, as we have it today, must come from God’s Word, but that leaves us with first knowing what God’s Word is before we can get his truth from it. Besides, how do we know that the ongoing studies in “human forensics” are not a direct result of God continuing to guide us into all truth?

    My lunch time is over, so I need to go for now. Most of what can be said on this topic has been said in one post or another by both sides, so there may not be much more for me to say anyway. My comments were more meant for Mike Marshall, since it’s already obvious to me that you and I do not see eye-to-eye on this issue, and we’re probably not likely to this side of heaven.

  31. Mike Marshall
    October 31, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    “It also states that those jots and tittles will not pass away, but again no promise is made there that any particular person will have them.”

    Anvil, if this is the case, as you argue it is, then why did the Lord bother to make the statement? Why waste the space? Were they just idle words? Is the Lord simply grandstanding, stating that He will fulfil something that no one can prove? Sounds more like Benny Hinn and the TBN crown than the King of Glory. Nothing God did was done in a corner, and everything He did is in His earthly Ministry was open for inspection. His entire life was a fulfillment of the Old Testament.

    Your line of reasoning voids this entire passage of scripture, and makes it pointless for the Lord to even mention. You could argue that the Lord is stating that he will fulfil the law, as Mike Hontz did, but again, when I follow out your line of reasoning, who cares what He said? Since I don’t have the preserved Law of God, then Jesus could say anything He wants to, and what would it matter, because now it is all subjective, nothing is absolute. Your line of thinking voids accountability.

    Do you understand the proverbial Pandora’s box you are opening with your position? Do you understand that any Tom, Dick, and Harry can come along, and say “Hey, I’m the Messiah!, Now I know what I’m doing is not in the book, but ya know, there are some parts missing, and I’m gonna fill ‘em in for ya!” By your standard, I can claim to raise the dead, and I am not required to show any evidence of it! Do you realize that Joseph Smith already played that card with the book of Mormon? Do you realize that Islam teaches the exact same thing?!?!? I live in Michigan, I know their religion first hand, and they teach that the Old Testament was for infants, the New Testament for adolescents, and the Koran for adults.

    Have you thought through to the end where your line of thinking leads? If we have no preserved word available to us, then we have no absolutes, because hey, we might be missing something, so we can’t be for sure. So then how can we be sure about Baptism, or the Second Coming, Salvation, or any other biblical doctrine? All doctrine is based on biblical authority, and all doctrine will fall without it. No authority means no doctrine. No doctrine means, no division (meaning separation). No division means…. One World Church. Did you ever stop to think where you line of reasoning ends? Now you know.

    If we do not have a bible that is absolute, then we have absolutely nothing.

  32. Anvil
    November 1, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Do you believe that Christ’s blood was poured out on the mercy seat in heaven? Prove it. We believe many things that God tells us in the scripture without being able to prove them. The trinity, the events when Satan was cast out of heaven, even the second coming (which we haven’t seen yet, and therefore cannot prove), etc., etc. I could go on a long time. We have to accept what God tells us at his word, whether or not we can “prove” it. Saying that one jot or one tittle of the law will not pass away till all is fulfilled is not just idle words, because we expect God to fulfill his law, and he is promising he will. But again, we are not given a way to prove many of God’s promises. We accept them on faith. If everything stated in the Bible was provable in our way, we would have no need of faith at all.

    It also sounds as if you are saying that if we do not have a promise of a 100% perfect copy of God’s Word then there is no reason at all to believe it. Well, I have to disagree with you there as well. Romans makes clear that the invisible things from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they (we) are without excuse. Abraham had no written scripture at all, yet he believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. He would have sacrificed his son, not having any proof at all that God would have prevented him from doing so. Both in the OT and NT, God has performed things beyond human capability to show that he was who he said he was. However, he has also given us many things to take on faith, that we have no way to prove.

    Any book (including the Koran or the Book of Mormon) can claim to be God’s word, so internal evidence only (for someone who wasn’t there and did not observe) is not enough. I’m sure you know how our scriptures came to us better than I do, but Jesus lived a sinless life on earth, left eyewitnesses of that fact, gave the scriptures through inspiration using many of those eyewitnesses, and on we go. In other words, God gave external evidence that his word is true. Now, you believe that having a perfect to the jot and tittle copy of his Word in our hands is the only way to believe any of what God says. To that, I would have to say, show me that our copy (as compared to the one settled in heaven) is perfect. I believe as you do that when God says his words will not pass away, they won’t. However, unlike you, I don’t see where he said how it will be accomplished, or that any of us would ever be guaranteed a perfect copy. What about those people who had access only to one of the manuscripts that were behind the KJV? Clearly they didn’t have a perfect copy. Did that mean they had license to declare themselves the messiah and disbelieve what was in God’s word? What about those who only had an Alexandrian copy of the scriptures, or only a latin Vulgate? Did they have an excuse not to believe? It sounds to me as if you are doing with your reasoning exactly what you are accusing me of.

  33. Michael Marshall
    November 1, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    MY RESPONSES IN CAPS. – NOT MEANT TO BE SHOUTING. :)

    “Do you believe that Christ’s blood was poured out on the mercy seat in heaven? Prove it.”
    IT’S RECORDED IN HIS PERFECT PRESERVED WORD.

    “It also sounds as if you are saying that if we do not have a promise of a 100% perfect copy of God’s Word then there is no reason at all to believe it.”

    “Now, you believe that having a perfect to the jot and tittle copy of his Word in our hands is the only way to believe any of what God says.”

    NOT AT ALL WHAT I MEANT OR SAID. I SAID IF WE DO NOT HAVE THE PRESERVED WORD OF GOD, THEN HOW CAN WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN WHAT WE BELIEVE? IF SOME OF IT IS MISSING OR CORRUPT, THEN HOW CAN WE TRUST ANY OF IF? MY POINT WAS AND STILL IS SINCE YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS PRESERVED, WHY BELIEVE ANY OF IT? I BELIEVE IT IS PRESERVED AND THUS AM PERFECTLY CONFIDENT IN BELIEVING IT. THAT IS WHAT I SAID, THAT IS WHAT I MEANT. YOUR COMMENT STARTED AS A SUPPOSITION AND ENDED AS A FACT, BUT BOTH STATEMENTS ARE FALSE.

    “Jesus lived a sinless life on earth, left eyewitnesses of that fact, gave the scriptures through inspiration using many of those eyewitnesses, and on we go. In other words, God gave external evidence that his word is true.”

    HERE IS THE POINT YOU SEEMED TO MISS, SO LET ME RESTATE IT. THE ONLY WAY YOU KNOW THERE IS A SAVIOUR IS BECAUSE OF HIS WRITTEN WORD. THE ONLY WAY YOU KNOW OF THE EYE WITNESSES IS BECAUSE OF THE WRITTEN WORD, AND THE ONLY WAY YOU KNOW THEIR TESTIMONY IS BY WHAT IS RECORDED IN THE WORD OF GOD, SO THE ‘EXTERNAL EVIDENCES’ YOU ARE CITING ARE IN ACTUALITY THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD YOU STATE IS NOT PRESERVED OR AVAILABLE TO US. IF WE DO NOT HAVE THE PRESERVED WORD OF GOD, HOW DO WE KNOW WE HAVE THEIR TESTIMONY?

    YOU ARE ALSO CONTRADICTING YOUR OWN POSITION. LET ME SUMMARIZE THE STATEMENTS YOU MADE ABOVE:

    1. I BELIEVE THE THINGS WRITTEN IN THE WORD
    2. I BELIEVE THE TESTIMONIES OF THOSE WHO SAW THE LORD THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THE WORD
    3. I BELIEVE I HAVE TO ACCEPT THESE THINGS BY FAITH IN THE WORD
    4. BUT I DON’T HAVE FAITH THAT I HAVE THE WORD.

    POINT NUMBER 4 NEGATES THE FIRST 3.

    “However, unlike you, I don’t see where he said how it will be accomplished, or that any of us would ever be guaranteed a perfect copy”

    STOP THE PRESS. I WANT YOU TO LISTEN TO YOUR OWN ARGUMENT.

    1. YOU STARTED YOUR RESPONSE BY STATING THAT WE MUST ACCEPT CERTAIN THEOLOGOCAL TRUTHS BY FAITH, SUCH AS THE BLOOD ON THE MERCY SEAT, THE SECOND COMING, ETC.
    2. HERE YOU STATE THAT YOU DON’T SEE WHERE HE SAID HOW IT ( the preservation of the Word) WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED. WELL HE NEVER SAID HOW HE WOULD ACCOMPLISH IT, HE JUST SAID THAT HE WOULD, AND HE WOULD LIKE YOU TO BELIEVE IT BY FAITH, THE SAME WAY YOU ARE STATING WE SHOULD BELIEVE THE OTHER TRUTHS.
    3. YOU FINISH THIS STATEMENT WITH ‘or that any of us would ever be guaranteed a perfect copy”.

    And this brings us back to the crux of the disagreement. You started your response with a diatribe on faith, stating that you believe by faith that Christ put His blood on the Mercy Seat, the Second Coming, the Trinity, and that you accept all these thing by faith (actually, you did not say you believe them. You used “we” in the generic sense, and never specifically stated that you believe them, so I am only assuming that you do).
    So now we come to the promises of Preservation, and you say it cannot be so, because “unlike you, I don’t see”. Does that mean that you are accepting that I see something you do not? Could it be that God has revealed to me something He has not revealed to you?

    You also argue that those that came before us did not have a complete bible, and ask if I believe that gave them an excuse not to believe.
    Lets be real and look at facts:

    Fact #1 – You were not there (nor was I).
    Fact #2 – you are basing your opinion about what was available to them by what is available today. This may satisfy you, but it does not satisfy me. We do not know what they had available. And based on…..
    Fact #3, Rome was quite literally hell-bent on burning the Believers and their bibles out of existence, and except that God had interceded, they would have. I believe that they had more in the way of manuscripts that we do today. Far more.
    I happen to believe by faith, faith based on the promise that you by your own admission do not see, that they had the word of God. Since He promised it to every generation I believe they had it.

    Lastly, the “It sounds to me as if you are doing with your reasoning exactly what you are accusing me of” defense is expected, but tired. I did no accusing, merely a summary of facts, and I asked some questions with the intent of making you think about what the end fruit of your belief is. You however, did mischaracterize some points thats I attempted to make, which I hopefully have clarified. So I would like to go back to one point you did not discuss. The point about where your system of belief ends. I am assuming that you are aware that there will be a One World Religion one day, with a One World Church, and they will have a bible. But it won’t be the Word of God. And if you cannot settle in your own heart that you and I do have the very word of God, then how can you or I stand against this rising ecumenical movement that will inevitably swallow every religion? To me this is not merely an argument about opinion and scholarship, it is life or death. Jesus said “When I come, shall I find faith on earth?” Will He?

  34. Mike Hontz
    November 3, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Mike Marshall,

    I guess I’m not following your point in citing Exodus 31 and 34 as teaching the doctrine of preservation. In both of those instances, God was supernaturally involved. When Moses copied the law after breaking it, the evidence from the context seems to imply that God gave it to him again through inspiration as he wrote it with his own hands. He was up on the mount in the presence of God at the time. I hardly think that this proves what your camp teaches about preservation. (I’m assuming here that you are a part of the camp with many of the others that I was dialoguing with in the previous posts.)

    As to your second paragraph, you said,

    “On this subject of Dictation, Mike, what language did Adam speak? Ok, how about Cain, Abel, Noah, or anyone prior to Babel? No one knows what it was, adn there is no evidence that the original language survied. So Mike, how was it possible that God could dictate those events and conversations to Moses in Hebrew when those conversations did not take place in Hebrew? How could they possibly be accurate? And if they are not, then how can we possibly have any confidence at all that God is Creator of Heaven and Earth? How can we stand with any confidence against the Evolutionist and state that the world was made is six literal 24 hour days? Without preservation Mike, we have nothing. We have no more authority than the Buddhist or the Sikh or the Muslim.”

    I think that you are confusing the issue of inspiration with accuracy. A comparison of the Gospels shows that one Gospel writer doesn’t always record Jesus’ statements in the same way as another Gospel writer. There are many times when these men recorded the words of Jesus differently, yet each represented what he said accurately, just in different words. The evidence is pretty clear that they were not trying to ‘quote’ him word for word, but rather were putting his words in their own words. Yet what they said was still accurate. This is even more clear when we realize that Jesus was likely speaking in Aramaic and not Greek. And so they were not only putting it in their own words, but they were probably recording it in another language. (As a side note, I think that this goes to show that the arguments which say that the Bible has to be 100% word-for-word in line with the original to be ‘accurate’ or ‘reliable’ aren’t logically correct. While truth is ultimately tied to the words themselves, there is certainly more than just one way to say the same thing without affecting the integrity of the message or the accuracy of the communication. What you and others are doing in this post is to say that – if we can’t be certain that we have every ‘jot and tittle’, then we can’t trust ‘anything’ as being accurate – is the overstretch of the century, and it doesn’t follow logically. But I am digressing. The point is, my view has no problem with believing that Adam’s words could be accurate even if they were recorded in another language and are not ‘word-for-word’ what Adam said. It is your side that seems to be arguing that, unless one can know for sure that the very words down to the last jot and tittle have been preserved, then he can’t view them as trustworthy or accurate in any sense, not mine.

    You then said,

    “You made a point about the jot and tittle. I don’t say this with the intent of being rude, but there are times when we strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. In the text, Mike, if the Lord made the statement that he would fulfil every jot and tittle of the Law, as you stated He was to do, how would we know He did it if we do not have every jot and tittle to compare his life to? I’ll wait……… Hmmm… No preserved word means we cannot prove that this is the very Christ.”

    Are you saying that if a single letter of a sentence or a punctuation point from the Law was removed that we couldn’t understand every part of it to the same degree? Are either of these two sentences any less clear? – I can’t read this book. – I cant read thiss book. In the second sentence, both a punctuation point (tittle) and a letter (jot) have been removed or changed, and yet both sentences are just as clear and communicate just as effectively. To acknowledge textual variants is not to make the jump that you seem to make in your arguments that somehow we are talking about huge portions of the Law being absent or sentences being changed so as to mean something completely different. I simply don’t agree that we have to have every literal ‘jot’ and ‘tittle’ preserved in order to either know for sure whether Christ fulfilled the moral expectations of the Law, or to believe in the authority and reliability of the Scriptures.

    I could make a similar argument that you make about variants. You assume that if we don’t have a 100% reliable Bible, then we might as well throw it out since we can’t know for certain if the words we have in our Greek text is completely accurate. I could make the same argument about interpretation. How can we be expected to obey the Scriptures and be holy even as God is holy when God hasn’t chosen to preserve infallibly the correct interpretation of each Scripture? Does holiness mean no divorce ever, or is it allowed sometimes? Even people in your camp debate this. So does it follow that I can’t be holy since the right interpretations to every passage have not been preserved? Should I throw away my Bible since I can’t prove whether or not I understand all of the commands perfectly? Of course not! Neither does it follow then that because I don’t know if I have every ‘jot’ and ‘tittle’ then I can’t have any confidence in the reliability of the Bible nor can I know if Christ kept fully the Law and the prophets in his life on earth.

    Concerning verses like Mark 13:31 which says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (also Mt. 5:18). When I read verses like this, how do I deal with them? In what way will God’s Word not pass away? I try to take things literally unless common sense or the context or reality don’t allow it. My first assumption after reading verses such as these would be to understand them as saying that the original, God-breathed words on the original documents would never pass away; they would not be corrupted or wear away over time. However, that doesn’t line up with reality. And so my next assumption would be to understand this as saying that through the copying process, no errors would creep into any of the texts. God would supernaturally preserve this process from errors. Once again, however, a comparison of all of the manuscripts from any of the Greek families reveals that this simply isn’t true. With that in mind, my third option is to understand this simply as a promise that God’s Word will never be destroyed in general, that it will always be here, that mankind will not be able to destroy it. This does line up with history as many have tried to extinguish all copies of the Bible through burning them, making them illegal, and persecuting those who owned them. Yet nothing has worked. The Bible remains the #1 best-selling and most widely read book in the world. And so this is how I understand the Bible’s references to God’s Word never passing away. Your camp on the other hand assumes that these verses must refer to the individual words being preserved in some manner even though history and the evidence prove that God did not preserve the copying process from errors. And so your camp has to make a huge leap of what I think is very unreasonable faith to assume that men like Erasmus and Schrivener just happened to make every right choice when comparing the Byzantine manuscripts at their disposal. Never mind the fact that Erasmus’s beliefs and affiliations probably point to the fact that he wasn’t even a true believer. Somehow your camp assumes that verses such as these prove that these men worked basically under the same sort of divine providence as Paul and Peter when writing under inspiration. How else could they be 100% free from error? Even when your side is presented with the historical facts such as that Erasmus’ choice to translate 1 Jn. 5:7-8 was motivated by the leaders of the Catholic church because of their loyalty to the Latin Vulgate over and against the Greek. And so he had to discard the fact that none of the Greek manuscripts he had had this verse in it and tried to recreate the Greek by working backwards from the Latin. Yet still, Erasmus must have gotten it right in that case since the church went ahead and used his Greek text for hundreds of years. I simply think that this is a view that is not just a stretch, it is logically and academically non-credible. I again find it interesting that I ended my last post by making this same point, and yet nobody on your side of the issue wants to respond to it with a ten-foot pole. Maybe you will explain to me how Erasmus’ methods of comparing the Byzantine manuscripts and choosing the right variant over the wrong ones is any different than the process used by those in the critical text. Your side says that these are faulty methods, yet you don’t explain how they are different from the methods used on your side by Erasmus and Schrivener.

    And so I will say this again – I would love to have a Greek text that represents the original text with 100% accuracy. I would love it if God had preserved the originals like he preserved the sandals of the Israelites in the wilderness from decay. I would love it if all of the Greek manuscripts in existence today lined up so that these discussions were unnecessary. I would love it if God had gone even further and preserved the right interpretations of all of the Scriptures in the church simply by the process of illumination. Then we wouldn’t have to mess with rightly interpreting Scripture and we could get right on to obeying it. However ideal these things would be, none of them line up with reality. Nor are any of them explicitly taught in the Bible. And so I reject all of them.

    As to your last questions, I am not exactly sure where you are going or what you are looking for by way of answers. Feel free to give me the answers you are looking for and then make the points that you feel these questions make, and then I will know how to respond better.

    Thanks.

  35. Michael Marshall
    November 28, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    My apologies for the late response

    I guess I’m not following your point in citing Exodus 31 and 34 as teaching the doctrine of preservation. In both of those instances, God was supernaturally involved. When Moses copied the law after breaking it, the evidence from the context seems to imply that God gave it to him again through inspiration as he wrote it with his own hands. He was up on the mount in the presence of God at the time. I hardly think that this proves what your camp teaches about preservation. (I’m assuming here that you are a part of the camp with many of the others that I was dialoguing with in the previous posts.)

    Mike, the point of this is that it does in fact teach preservation. If you chose not to believe that, it is certainly your choice. If this is not teaching preservation, there is no point to have it in the scriptures. But it is there, and it is there to make a point. The point being that God would preserve His word through men, and that dictation, language etc, would not stop that.

    And so I will say this again – I would love to have a Greek text that represents the original text with 100% accuracy. I would love it if God had preserved the originals like he preserved the sandals of the Israelites in the wilderness from decay. I would love it if all of the Greek manuscripts in existence today lined up so that these discussions were unnecessary. I would love it if God had gone even further and preserved the right interpretations of all of the Scriptures in the church simply by the process of illumination. Then we wouldn’t have to mess with rightly interpreting Scripture and we could get right on to obeying it. However ideal these things would be, none of them line up with reality. Nor are any of them explicitly taught in the Bible. And so I reject all of them.

    I believe that it is the Holy Spirit that will guide us into all truth, and will illuminate the scripture, to use your word. I also believe that God did what you deny is explicitly taught in the bible (and I would argue that it is): He did just what you say he did not do, He preserved it in English. I have never been concerned with the Hebrew and the Greek and all the “scientific” and “forensic” and “historic” arguments. The God that saved my soul placed His spirit in me, and that Spirit bears witness to me that I have the very word of God. That may be overly simplistic for some, but it works for me, and it has worked for all those that have gone before me. The problem with the three aforementioned methods is that they all are based on the intellect of man and not the spirit of God. That path will always lead you to problems. You either accept that He preserved it or you do not.

    Thanks,

  36. Mike Hontz
    December 4, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Mike,

    I still don’t see how the story of Moses recopying the 10 commandments says anything about preservation. When Moses recopied the 10 commandments, which he broke, the implication from the passage is that God ‘dictated’ them to him again. There were no textual variants in the 2nd set of 10 commandments due to human errors of any type. However, take any two manuscripts available today, both from the Hebrew Massoretic Texts or any of the Greek texts available today, and no two will agree 100%. That means that no matter what one’s view of preservation is, it has to allow for textual variants in some sense or another. The people that I have been debating with in this blog acknowledge that point as does Dave Mallinak who wrote the original article. To try to assert that the example from Exodus is an equivalent example of current day copying is illogical in my opinion, and I’m guessing that men like Dave and Kent would agree with me on that.

    As a side note, I wonder if you have ever studied the New Testament authors who quote from the Old Testament. There are several examples where the NT authors didn’t quote from the Massoretic Hebrew text, but rather the Greek Septuagint. This either shows that the Massoretic Text was not as accurately preserved as was the Greek LXX, or it means that the NT authors quoted from inferior manuscripts when they wrote the NT, and yet God still viewed them as accurate and even inspired them through the NT authors’ use of them. Either way, this argues strongly against the KJV-only position since the text behind the KJV was the Massoretic Hebrew, and the NT authors show that they didn’t believe that the MT was the ONLY authoritative text. If the NT authors did believe that there was only ONE authoritative Old Testament text, it wasn’t the MT. Some examples where the NT authors quote from the Septuagint which don’t align with the Hebrew Masoretic Text are: Matthew 8:17, 13:15, 21:16; Luke 4:19; Acts 2:28, 7:43, 8:33, 13:35, 15:17, 28:27; Rom. 2:24, 3:14, 9:28, 10:11, 11:27, 15:12, 15:21; 2 Cor. 4:13; Eph. 4:26; Heb. 1:6, 10:7, 10:38, 12:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:25, 2:24-25, 4:18. As you can see, this is no small list of places where the NT authors quoted from the LXX which is clear because of the way the verse differs from the quotation in the Hebrew Massoretic text. This list reveals that Matthew, Luke, Paul, Peter and the author of Hebrews all used and quoted from the LXX and not the text behind the KJV’s OT. This is pretty strong evidence in my opinion against the KJV only position.

    Concerning the final paragraph, you say that you believe that the Holy Spirit will guide YOU into all truth based upon John 16:13. It might be significant that this promise was given by Jesus to his disciples, the future Apostles of the church. Not only does he say that he will guide THEM into all truth, but it also says that the Spirit would “shew [them] things to come.” Do you take the last half of this verse to apply to your experience today? Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is still showing you and other believers things to come like many charismatics believe? As I understand this passage, I believe that Jesus is giving a promise to his Apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth and would even reveal new things to them about the future, particularly as they taught that first generation of believers and as they wrote the NT Scriptures. They had no NT in the 1st century church, and so they had to rely on prophets and Apostles with special gifts of the Holy Spirit that are no longer operative in the church today in my opinion and most within your camp’s position as well.

    Even if you take this verse as applying to the process whereby the Holy Spirit helps us to understand truths today, you still have to acknowledge that good believers in all camps or denominations disagree over various issues of interpretation and application. You either have to say that those people don’t have the Holy Spirit, or that they are quenching the Holy Spirit’s work (hence they are carnal believers), or that the Holy Spirit’s work in illuminating truths today is not infallible.

    You say that God did preserve the Bible in English, and hence you have never been concerned with the Greek or Hebrew. I would simply point out that this is not the position of the men that I have been interacting with on this blog. They do not say that the Bible was preserved in English, but rather that it was preserved in the originals even throughout the process of copying manuscripts. I would take a whole different approach in arguing against the position you seem to be proposing than the one I have taken in this blog of which I am not going to take the time now to do.

    You go on to say that when God saved your soul, He placed His Spirit in you, and that Spirit bears witness to you that you have the very word of God. I would point out that this is not what the Bible says the Spirit would bear witness to. You are alluding to Romans 8:16 which says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD.” No where does the Bible promise, as you imply, that the Holy Spirit would bear witness to us experientially that a particular translation of the Bible in English is accurate over against another. In fact, 2 Timothy 2:15 seems to imply that this is not the case. We are commanded to study to shew ourselves approved unto God, workmen who rightly divide the word of truth. If all that was required in knowing whether this word or that word was the ‘preserved’ and ‘accurate’ rendering in English, we wouldn’t need to study at all. And so you say that this method might seem overly ‘simplistic’. I would say that it isn’t only overly ‘simplistic’, it is also overly ‘subjective’. The latter is what I have more of a problem with. If I am to accept ‘your’ subjective experience as proof that something is true, then I guess I would have to accept every charismatic who claims to receive further revelation or or who claims to have a divine word of wisdom or who claims to have had a vision of heaven, etc. I don’t believe that God intended us to rely on others’ or our own subjective experiences when it came to determining truth.

    Finally, you say that the problem with the ‘aforementioned methods’ of textual criticism are that they are based on the intellect. Are you saying that the Spirit doesn’t work through man’s intellect to reveal truth? What about studying Scripture? Doesn’t this involve both the Spirit and the intellect? In fact, the Bible is filled with passages that stress that God works through man’s intellect (his mind) quite often in contrast to his feelings (lusts of his flesh). Every time a pastor prepares for a sermon, he uses the resources of his intellect, and he appeals to the intellect of the people in his congregation as he challenges them to change. And so as I said in a previous blog, I believe that it is a false dichotomy to say that because things are based on man’s intellect and human reasoning, that this somehow proves that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the process. I certainly don’t believe as you have implied that following one’s mind and reasoning capacities will always lead to problems. On the contrary, I believe that when we follow our feelings or our subjective experiences in the absence of our mind and intellect, this is when we will usually be led into problems.

    Finally, while you commented on ‘textual criticism’ in general, you didn’t comment on how the textual criticism behind the newer translations is any different in substance to the textual criticism behind the Bible that you use, the KJV. Neither your Bible nor any of the modern ones would be available today apart from textual criticism, and so this question is a very valid and important one to ask and for any person who takes a strong position on this issue to answer for themselves.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    Mike

  1. April 7, 2007 at 4:02 pm

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