Multiple Versions Only (MVO): No Scripture, So Invent a Fake History
Normally,Â doctrinal statements startÂ with Scripture.Â They are a careful presentation of what Scripture says on a subject, topic, or issue, which would in essence be “what the Bible says” about it.Â If we were to teach on the doctrine of preservation, we wouldÂ lay out what the BibleÂ reveals on the issue in a contextual and organized way, leaving no stones unturned to find out what God said about it in His Word.Â That’s what we, the One Bible people, have done. We major on what the Bible says. Only after this will weÂ mention the history and other external evidences.
MVO:Â No Scripture
You will notÂ see this with the MVO advocates.Â They provide no developed, organized system of teaching on preservation, none of them.Â Their idea of a Biblical presentation is to attack the exegesis and application of the One Bible presentation.Â This really has become the tradition of MVO and textual criticism. They don’t tell you what the Bible teaches about its own preservation. Despite having no Scripture, they really want you to think that they represent the historical point of view.Â They want you to think that the One Bible people, who do present Scripture,Â don’t have any history previous to the middle of the 20th Century.
Mount Calvary Baptist Church of Greenville, SC, where Mark Minnick pastors, put together one of their “histories,” as did Mike SproulÂ and a cast of MVO advocates (BJU)Â in God’s Word in Our Hands.Â I dare you to find anything that Doug Kutilek has written on what God’s Word says about its own preservation.Â These people do not seem to be interested at all about what the Bible says about it.
Mount Calvary and Mark MinnickÂ did not provide a booklet with exegesis on the Bible doctrine of preservation.Â They provided you a pamphlet with quotations of men.Â The Ambassador-Emerald “Translation Committee” wrote an entire volume with no Scriptural presentation and followed it with another 400+ tome, subheaded “The Bible Preserved for Us,” that starts with historical quotes. You won’t find Scripture until p. 83, and again, that is mainly attempting to debunk the One Bible position,Â that lasts upÂ to p. 117 and that is all, pp. 83-117.Â God’s Word Preserved, the Mike Sproul book in which within the entire 405 pages he alone is called Dr. Sproul, including on the front cover,Â has zero Scriptural teaching on preservation. None. You would think he would have been able to find some teaching on preservation for a book called God’s Word Preserved. The way he defended his position is with quotes of men. Just quotes; that’s all.
Our book, on the other hand, Thou Shalt Keep Them, is 315 pages of only Biblical teaching. We exegete several of the passages (not all) that reveal the doctrine of preservation.Â We could have written something almost double that size, if we included all the passages.
One of the reasons they do not give Scripture is because several of them do not believe Scripture teaches preservation.Â They admit this themselves.Â Some of the major, most quoted spokesmen for the MVO side, don’t believe preservation is promised in Scripture.Â William Combs of Detroit Baptist Theological SeminaryÂ writes concerning his own side:
In an an article entitled “Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Textual Criticism,” by Daniel Wallace, we find what is apparently the first definitive, systematic denial of a doctrine of preservation of Scripture.
That is quite an overstatement by Combs.Â Many liberals have denied preservation.Â Many do not believe that the Bible teaches inspiration or preservation. He must mean the first denial of preservationÂ by a “conservative.” Denial of preservation and “conservative”Â go together in this new paradigm. Combs adds W. Edward Glenny, a major contributor to the volume, OneÂ Bible Only?, out of Central Seminary in Minnesota.
They are not strong about Scripture teaching the doctrine of preservation, so what is their position on history and preservation? Sadly, they don’t give a historic presentation either.Â They give you quotes of men mainlyÂ addressingÂ the translation issue.Â The first two quotes by Trusted Voices are also the first for Mike Sproul:
The holy Scriptures viz. the Originalls Hebrew & Greek are given by Divine Inspiration & in their first donation were without error most perfect and therefore Canonical … no translation can possibly express all the matter of the body originals, nor a thousand things in the Grammar, Rhetoric, & character of the tongue. ~~John Smyth
Now though some translations may exceed others in Propriety, and significant rendering of the Originals; yet they generally, (even the most imperfect that we know of), express and hold forth so much the Mind, Will, and Counsel of God, as is sufficient … to acquaint a Man with the Mysteries of Salvation, to work in him a true Faith, and bring him to live godly, righteously, and soberly in this World, and to Salvation in the next. ~~Banjamine Keach
What do these two quotes do toÂ eliminate the Scriptural and historical view on perfect preservation that we represent?Â Nothing.Â TheyÂ only refute aÂ view that says that English has replaced theÂ Hebrew and Greek text of Scripture.Â These two quotes do nothing toÂ dispel what we believe and what Scripture teaches on preservation.Â We wholeheartedly agree with them.Â A large majority of their quotes read like these two.Â Only close to or after the Revised Version of 1881Â do they find quotes that attackÂ the Scriptural position on preservation. This isÂ their so-called “history.”
MVO:Â No History
Since the MVO position is not even historical, let alone Scriptural, where did it originate?Â This is important to understand.Â Many liberals believed what the MVO advocates teach. When did it become the position of the more conservative? This is easy to see. One would think that the Westminster Confession and Baptist Confessions (London, Philadelphia) would get in the way of changing the historic view of preservation. They have and do.Â But then came along the well-respected Presbyterian, Princeton (Ivy League)Â theologian, Benjamin Warfield.Â Warfield read into the Westminster Confession and intoÂ its “providential care,” textual criticism.Â You’ll find it on pages 239-241 in Vol. VI of his Works:
It (the WCF) admits of no denial that they explicitly recognized the fact that the text of the Scriptures had suffered corruption in process of transmission, and affirmed that the “pure” text lies therefore not in one copy, but in all, and is to be attained not by simply reading the text in whatever copy may chance to fall in our hands, but by a process of comparison, i.e. by criticism (p. 239).
In the sense of the Westminster Confession, therefore, the multiplication of copies of the Scriptures, the several early efforts towards the revision of the text, the raising up of scholars in our own day to collect and collate MSS, . . . . are all parts of God’s singular care and providence in preserving His inspired Word pure.
Warfield reads schizophrenic in that section.Â In one moment he is espousing the historical position and in the next he does what you read above.Â The fake history of the MVO began with these writings of Warfield. WarfieldÂ inserted a history into the Westminster Confession that contradicted what these men said they actually believed.Â His invention is much different than the conclusion of the well respected Westminster expert, E. D. Morris, who wrote concerning the divines:
As a Professor in a Theological Seminary, it has been my duty to make a special study of the Westminster Confession of Faith, as have I done for twenty years; and I venture to affirm that no one who is qualified to give an opinion on the subject, would dare to risk his reputation on the statement that the Westminster divines ever thought the original manuscripts of the Bible were distinct from the copies in their possession.
My reading of the Puritan writings mirrors Morris’ assessment.Â Benjamin Warfield brought textual criticism into a “conservative” doctrine of preservation of Scripture much like evolutionists brought theistic evolution into the Bible.
They have their own fake history, but they are also bold enough to provide us with our history too.Â They don’t have time to look at what Scripture says, but they do have a lot of time to concoct a new history for the perfect preservation view.Â Sproul spendsÂ a huge chunk of his book (pp. 209-245) creating a fraudulent history of the One Bible view, tracing it back to a Seventh Day Adventist, Benjamin Wilkinson, through David Otis Fuller, all beginning in the 1930’s in the United States.Â I have no doubt that some have been influenced by these two men, but this is not the history of the doctrine of preservation.Â Personally, I have never read Fuller or Wilkinson and don’t possess either of their books on the issue.Â They may have been defending One Bible, but they didn’t originate a view of perfect preservation,Â a doctrine which is as old as Scripture itself.
God-fearing saints in Baptist churches for centuries have believed in the perfect preservation of Scripture.Â And they still do.Â When they open their Bibles to study or to listen to preaching, they believe that they hold in their hands God’s Word, inspired and perfectly preserved.Â They don’t take that position from any scholars or historians.Â They have read itÂ themselves in their own Bibles.
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.Â Isaiah 59:21