Home > Brandenburg, The Word, The World, Truth > How Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Are Codifying Uncertainty and Doubt

How Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Are Codifying Uncertainty and Doubt

March 23, 2010

When I received Jesus Christ, I gave up my life.   I surrendered my ambitions, my time, and my possessions to the Lord.  I could have kept my life for myself, but I didn’t.   Like Paul, I counted everything loss.    I gave up any possibility of worldly success and popularity and even riches for this way I take.  Why?  I know how it ends.   I know.

I understand how men judge success.  I really do get what career choices are impressive to people.  I have a good knowledge of how one reaches worldly fame.  But no.  I fully comprehend the reproach and hatred and rejection that comes with biblical Christianity.  So why go the latter direction and avoid the former?  I know what real success is, I know what pleases God, and I know that worldly fame is worthless.

Again, I know.  I’m certain.  I’m sure.  When we read the Bible, we read faith and certainty.  The language of God’s Word smacks of full assurance.   Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded.”   Luke wrote so that those reading would have certainty (1:4):  “That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”  Paul told Timothy that “we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”  John wrote 1 John (5:13) “that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”  Not hope so.  Know so.

How can we say that we know something that we cannot see?  We know because God’s Word can be trusted.  “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  Paul to Titus (1:2) wrote:  “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”   We can count on God’s promises, because God does not lie.  So we know.  He does not lie.  His Word is Truth (John 17:17).  It is knowledge we can count on, not knowledge falsely so-called.

More than I’ve ever seen, men do not have the certainty of which God’s Word speaks.  As it applies to faith and theology, many call this postmodernism, where skepticism and lack of objective truth prevails.  Belief takes a back seat to feelings.  Doubt reigns as authentic with certainty as closed and totalitarian.  Nuance abounds.  Dogmatism is not tolerated.

One would think that, of all things, Christianity would contradict postmodern philosophy.  Satan wants doubt.   He questions God.  He attacks truth.  Now Christianity cooperates with that plan and uses theology to explain, affirming the doubt that Satan and the world system spawns.  Most responsible, I believe, are evangelicalism and fundamentalism for codifying uncertainty and doubt.

We live in a day of assault on meaning.  We’re now arguing about the words and symbols that are used to communicate.  Few can be sure anymore.  Is that modest?  I don’t know.  Is that foul language?  Maybe.  Probably not.  I don’t know.  What’s the man’s role?  Maybe this.  Could be this.  I don’t know.  What’s male dress?  (laughter)  What we are sure about is how unsure we should be.  Being sure is not only impossible, but it’s mean.  It’s insulting.  It’s disunifying.  But I didn’t offend you?  But you did.  How?  Why?  You did.  So stop.  OK?  Alright.  There’s something to believe in.

You can see how masculinity disappears in such an environment.  Or whatever we once thought it was to be a man.  I don’t want to be dogmatic.  In the absence of manhood, we get the replacement manhood found in harsh, loud music, denim, shaved heads, two days of facial hair, salty speech, and man hugs.  And lots of “dude.” Dude this and dude that.  Like dude.

I’m saying that evangelicalism and fundamentalism have retreated to uncertainty and doubt, leaving everyone who wants certainty nowhere to go.  If you choose certainty, evangelicals and fundamentalists will mock you.  Evangelicals have been doing this for a long time.  Fundamentalists have gotten started a little more recently.

Alright, so what do I mean?  By the way, I’m contending that I can mean something.  I’ve got to do that for the sake of argument.  You might laugh, but that’s where we’re headed, if we’ve not already arrived, with no offense to those who think no one can arrive, but can only take the journey.  Where does this all break down?  It breaks down primarily in three ways that are major components now of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

Number One Way Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Codify Uncertainty

I don’t want to give my point away with my divisional word.  Evangelicals and fundamentalists will stop reading because they think it is too funny.  At least, lol.  Evangelicals and fundamentalists gave away certainty when they transferred certainty from the text of the Bible they held in their hands, the apographa, and moved it to only the original manuscripts, the autographa.  At one time evangelicals, which were then also the fundamentalists—they were the same group—believed what God inspired, verbal-plenary, they possessed.  They believed God’s promise of preservation.  They believed that they had every Word of God in their possession by which they could live.

Now they don’t believe that.  They’ve explained it away.  So now we’re not sure anymore about what God’s Word is.  We’ve now got dozens and dozens of English translations, and people have waned in their confidence in Scripture, and ultimately in God.  God said He would preserve every Word, but they say, “No.”  Their position is not what Christians have believed through history.  God had promised, so they believed in what they called “providential preservation” of Scripture.  Now evangelicals and fundamentalists say we’ve got the “Word” (not the Words) and the “Message” (the particular Words don’t matter so much).  We’re supposed to be satisfied with that even if God promised to preserve every Word.

Since we can’t be sure about the Words of God, then we can’t be certain about the promises of God.  We lose seriousness and stability in Christianity.   The Bible is one part God’s Word and the other part human speculation, and a new edition of Scripture could come out any year.  I believe this is the most foundational of these three.  We’re basing the biggest decisions of our life on a book that is now wrought with uncertainty because only the original manuscripts were the very Words of God—so says evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

Number Two Way Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Codify Uncertainty

The new doctrine, which you won’t find in Scripture, that is now not only a doctrine but a major belief for evangelicals and fundamentalists, is that all believers unify only over “essential” doctrine.   They say we give liberty in the non-essentials.  And the essentials are an ever shrinking list and the non-essentials are a mounting, growing, gigantic list of doctrines.  Because we have liberty in the so-called non-essentials, it ‘essentially’ doesn’t matter what you belief and practice in those areas.  We’ll still have unity with you if you disagree only in the non-essentials.

Now if you disagree on the essentials, which, by the way, is a very amoebic, fluctuating list, then evangelicals supposedly can’t unify with you.  The dirty little secret is that evangelicals don’t separate even over the essentials.  They don’t separate–that’s only fundamentalists.  And mainly fundamentalists and sometimes conservative evangelicals constantly argue over what the essentials and non-essentials are.  They have stopped arguing over the very doctrine of essentials itself.  You’ve got to believe that we unify only over the essentials.  Why?  Well, there’s no way you could “separate over everything.”  You just can’t.  Why?  Cause that would be a lot of separation.  Nobody separates that much.  That’s just way too much separation.

This “essential”/”non-essential” doctrine has become a major doctrine in and of itself.  Of course, that allows for uncertainty.  You only have to be certain about the essentials.  Everything else is sort of up for grabs.  And if you are uncertain about a lot, that probably means that you get along with more people and you’re probably going to be liked more.  And being liked is, well, big in evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  Standing only on the “essentials” probably also makes you “gentle,” which has risen in importance as a trait to have.  And if you are still struggling along, attempting to get a grip on what Scripture says, not quite getting it, but really trying, you’re more intellectual and definitely more authentic.  And what this does is exalt uncertainty.

I’ve noticed evangelicals and fundamentalists scouring historic materials, looking for people who communicated this essential-non-essential doctrine, quoting anybody that gives a possible whiff of it, trying to establish its historicity.  And now it is preached quite a lot.  And the ones pushing it are saying that this is the way to “unity in the church.”  By doing so they redefine scriptural fellowship, church discipline, and many other doctrines.  Uncertainty can triumph in the environment of “only essentials.”

Number Three Way Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Codify Uncertainty

Evangelicals and fundamentalists teach a new uncertainty in the application of Scripture.  Historic applications of Scripture to culture are now doubtful.   The old standards are thrown out as Pharisaical and legalistic.  Because of this, there is very little that you can see or hear that differentiates Christians from the world.  This is doubt as it relates to the interpretation and application of the Bible.  If we don’t even know what the Words are, how could we expect to know what it means.  The latter seems far more elusive than the former.

At one time, we knew what male dress was.  Now we don’t.  We knew what modesty was.  Now we don’t.  We knew what fleshly lust and worldly lust were.  Now we don’t.  We know what worldliness was.  Now we don’t.  And even if we do, revert back to number two—it’s a non-essential.

All of these three combined result in a tremendous amount of disobedience to God, an extreme volume of unholiness, and a gigantic quantity of dishonoring the Lord.  And above all these, uncertainty abounds.  Because evangelicals and fundamentalist have codified uncertainty in these three ways, professing Christians are uncertain as to what Scripture is, what Scripture says, and how Scripture applies.  And even if they are, it doesn’t matter, because you need only be certain about the essentials, which they are actually uncertain about.

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  1. Joshua
    March 23, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Hit’s the nail right on the head. This part was particularly incisive:

    “Standing only on the “essentials” probably also makes you “gentle,” which has risen in importance as a trait to have. And if you are still struggling along, attempting to get a grip on what Scripture says, not quite getting it, but really trying, you’re more intellectual and definitely more authentic.”

    That couldn’t be more true. I used to admire the great humility of the popular evangelicals, but it started to sour on me. I think it was reading Don Carson where it first started to seem off. He would always write in the most humble of ways, with such genuflection and kindness to his adversaries, peppered with flowery reminders of his own biases and flaws – and then it struck me that this was ear tickling. When one goes to such efforts to seem humble, it’s actually part of the show. People feel kindly disposed to someone who is so humble, so he goes to great pains to let you know just how humble he is, so what he says will be more palatable. Once I saw it there I started seeing it all over the place. If you read CS Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” it’s one of the most humble expositions of blantant false doctrine you’ll find around – but it’s written in such a manner to appeal to men and thus is wildly popular among evangelicals.

    In certain strands of fundamentalism the opposite is true (the more hardline you are, the more folks will like you), but for evangelicals this broad, all encompassing tolerance and humility is like catnip to felines. I’m struggling to see it as genuine now, when there is so much to gain by being like that. It’s sheer manipulation.

  2. March 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Nail, meet Joshua. Very interesting testimonial to how this dawned on you. I enjoyed much of the wording as well.

  3. d4v34x
    March 24, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Isn’t gentleness a fruit of the Spirit? Shouldn’t we delight that it is being prized more and more?

    And shouldn’t we be as nuanced as the Bible? The Bible is pretty nuanced on some things.

    Where are all the fundy-gelicals who teach that “[s]ince we can’t be sure about the Words of God, then we can’t be certain about the promises of God”? I’ve never heard any. And I’ve heard alot.

    Even as an (occassional) man-hugger dude with trendy facial hair, your point on a slump in Biblical manhood is well taken. I believe it is more related to the fear of man and lack of being Spirit-filled than some of the issues you raise here (although I guess wanting to be liked is a fear of man issue).

    All in all, I think your brush is a little too broad here. Not nuanced enough, if you will. (C:

  4. March 24, 2010 at 9:52 am

    D4,

    The three points. yes or no?

    I think the point on ‘gentleness,’ D4, is that it is a fake gentleness. Being actually gentle, good, the new “gentle,” bad. Nuance is a buzzword. Principles, yes, nuance, no.

    I don’t hear anyone making that connection between certainty of Words and fulfillment of promises either, because they don’t care about that effect they are having. They just deny it. I’m making that point.

    Thanks for commenting.

  5. d4v34x
    March 24, 2010 at 10:49 am

    1. No.
    2. Some do, some don’t.
    3. There are varying degrees of blatant and/or subtle worldliness in nearly every church I have visited (but I’ve never been to El Sobrante). The people in them, often pastors included, need better doctrine, some correction or repoof, more instruction in righteousness. But I think it’s a mistake to say worldliness is charactaristic of entire swaths of “conservative Christianity” when a given church in that group may stand strongly against worldliness. These are our brothers and sisters. We can’t write them off.

    And nuance was a legitimate word representing a legitimate concept (which ought to be employed by biblical theologians) long before anyone made it buzz.

  6. March 25, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Brother Kent,

    You are absolutely right. Let me answer the points 1-3 as you asked d4 to do.

    1. Yes, yes and yes! In my opinion, this is where it all starts. All you have to do is read their own articles about preservation and the texts to know that they are “not sure” what the words actually are. If they were sure, they would quit looking for more “scholarly” translations.

    2. I really believe this comes from two areas: 1)A lack of certainty about preservation – your first point & 2)A wrong view of the “church.” Because they have a “universal” view of the church, they can’t justify all the “different doctrines” without coming up with this essential/non-essential thought. Some of those historical figures who preached unity on “non-essentials” would have Baptists like us killed today if they were in power again.

    3. You are also completely correct about this. It is the natural result of the first two, in my opinion. God’s Word is not nearly as ambiguous about personal standards as the “Evangelicals” and “Fundamentalists” of today think.

    Thanks again, Brother!

  7. March 25, 2010 at 7:10 am

    D4,

    You sound like someone who is thoughtfully trying to do the right thing. Even the way you expressed your disagreement was gentlemanly, in my opinion.

    I will only say this about the “Fundy-gelicals” you mentioned. I will give you an example of what Brother Kent meant by this statement: “[s]ince we can’t be sure about the Words of God, then we can’t be certain about the promises of God”

    Just read what some of these “good” men write about Psalm 12:6-7. They use every “nuance” of Greek to make this not say what it actually says. If we can’t be sure that God actually said He would preserve the “words” then how can we know if God’s promise of preservation is true?

    As to the “gentleness” factor, Jesus was “gentle” to those who were hurting, to the poor, and to children. He was gentle in His approach to sinners, but He also overturned the tables in the Temple, using a whip. I sure hope that was an essential doctrine that got Him so worked up, don’t you?

    We need preachers today who are not afraid to say “thus saith the LORD!” but who are steadfast to make sure that they are true to what God has actually said.

    God bless you, Brother.

  8. March 25, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Joshua,

    I have been around the type of Fundamentalism you mentioned. “Being hardline to prove you are a bonafide ‘Fundamentalist.'”

    We need men today in our pulpits who are aware of their own shortcomings, are not concerned with what the Brethren think, who are immersed in God’s Word, who preach it as it is without apology, who are not afraid to buck current trends that go against the Word of God. These trends come from both the “Evangelicals” and “Fundamentalists” today.

  9. d4v34x
    March 25, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Brother Dunham,

    I kinda like the term Fundygelicals. Made it up myself! (C:

    You’re not related to a Dr. Dunham that started a church in NW Ohio, are you. I happen to go to that church. Neither here nor there I guess. Just curious.

    This whole unity thing is tough. I don’t like the idea of secondary or tertiary doctrines as God gave us the whole Bible for a reason. However, I doubt you really insist that everyone in your church hold the same understanding of what Paul meant by some being “baptized for the dead”. Extreme case, yes. But I think there’s a continuum, and at some point we make our case but don’t separate.

    I don’t like a shallow unity or peace. But there is alot of depth to the areas about which I agree with, say, Tim Keller. And while there is some practice I can’t go along with him on, I (could) have a level of unity with him (were I ever to meet him). One day that unity will be perfect, thank God, which I why I think we can and should disagree in a gentlemanly manner.

    Also, I have to believe we want the nuances of Greek grammar to determine what a passage means rather than what we hope the verse will end up supporting or not. There’s plenty of other passages to promise preservation. Frankly many passages (Matt. 4:4 for instance) that people use to support preservation do not read that way to me.

  10. March 25, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Let me go through the three points, first. D4, if #1 isn’t true, then you tell me, what are the very Words of God? Where are they found? Do you have certainty that you possess all of them? Do you know what they are? If not, then you’ve proven my point. There are very few to no men who call themselves evangelicals who believe we know—they would say that we can’t know—and then there is one segment of fundamentalism that attacks you vigorously if you say you know; they mock, jeer, put down (gentle?). So these guys push this notion big time. They make your certainty on the text an actual test of fellowship, more than any standard, doctrinal point, and even in certain cases more than the gospel. You’ve got to be uncertain, they would say, or you have a heretical bibliology. If this is not true, I’d be glad to have some prove it. I recognize there is a segment of fundamentalism that believes we’re certain, but unfortunately many of them are Ruckmanite, 1-2-3 pray with me, no repentance, types. OK, #2, all of professing evangelicals go with the essential-non-essential mess. Their big names push it continually in sermons, books, articles, etc. That’s the whole thing of ‘Together for the Gospel.’ They reduce it to the gospel as their essential. They aren’t together for true worship. The same group of fundamentalists who have uncertainty on the text also still haggle over what is essential and non-essential. This is about the biggest conversation in that segment of fundamentalism, those who call themselves historic fundamentalists. #3, all evangelicals fit into this category. Some of these “historic fundamentalists” would still fight for our being able to judge at least music. But dress is up for grabs, so you’ve got many of them with no problem with swim parties, where the women show up with full thigh. That’s permissible and not something anyone can judge. And the other fundamentalists, since it is a non-essential, don’t judge in the matter of nudity. And even on the music issue, those with the belief that music does have meaning will not judge those who do not. They make it a non-essential.

    Where I have seen certainty in evangelicals and fundamentalists, interestingly enough, is in the rejection of old standards that almost all fundamentalists at one time held. Scriptural standards.

  11. d4v34x
    March 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

    1. I have three versions I regularly use at my house, KJV, NKJV, and ESV. Others I have I rarely use. I have God’s Word(s) there. What is absent or abberant in one is doubtless corrected in another. I stand firm on that and have no doubt.

    2. I’m speaking totally off the top of the head here, so I may not cover my grounds completely, but we (ought) give liberty in that which 1) non-essential to the gospel that converts. 2) is not a shameless misuse or abuse of Scripture but is 3)based on a strict and conscientscious exegesis of the text and has some historical corroboration and 4) is confirmed by working out in godly practices. This doesn’t mean we participate in services conducted in ways we can’t condone (dedicatory infant baptism) or don’t voice disagreement or debate, but we don’t consign them to the camp of the enemy either.

    3. I’ve been as puzzled as you by some of this. Either my conscience is simply more polluted than thiers, or some of my friends will have alot to answer for at the judgement seat. I exhort, encourage, rebuke. I go back and examine the scriptures. I pray.

    Peace, brothers.

  12. March 25, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I never really addressed, Art. We see things the same way Art. And we’ve never met. But this isn’t new either to you and me.

    D4,

    So you believe that all the words are found in the two different texts behind the KJV and ESV. They’re in there, but you don’t know which the right ones are, because they do differ. So canonicity of those Words, like they are anyone with a CT/eclectic philosophy, is a spur of the moment, individual decision of you. And even then, I’m pretty sure you would say you don’t which the right words are. It’s an educated guess. Then if you do believe the words are in the text behind the ESV, understand that textual criticism hasn’t stopped and future editions of the ESV will reflect the newest “finds” in textual criticism. That’s why there are editions of the Nestles-Aland text. We’re at the 27th edition now. Do you think there will be a 28, 29, 30, etc.? Is this certainty about what the words are? I’m certain it isn’t. I hear on the other two points the uncertainty that there is about this, and I believe it relates directly to what I wrote about.

    Thanks.

  13. d4v34x
    March 26, 2010 at 7:01 am

    “So canonicity of those Words, like they are anyone with a CT/eclectic philosophy, is a spur of the moment, individual decision of you.”

    No its not spur of the moment. I accept good, (as) literal (as possible)translations based on either the TR or the CT as authoritative. Its the same as Jesus who gave us the very Words by His Spirit granting authority to the LXX by reading from it.

    And no, we don’t have to go through that argument again. I stipulate you have vigorous objections to that last assertion. And I know that because of this we can’t have complete unity. I wish it were not so, but it all goes back to a foundational difference in our understanding of various passages. But please know I am not separating from you because I am obliged to due to your error on this. As far as I’m concerned, we are simply separated because of the practical effect of our differing bibliology, (which, despite our differences, are closer than many other bibliologys that are out there).

    As far as you’re concerned, I suspect that may be different.

    See you in the new heaven, the new earth, or the new Jerusalem.

  14. Joshua
    March 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    “No its not spur of the moment. I accept good, (as) literal (as possible)translations based on either the TR or the CT as authoritative. Its the same as Jesus who gave us the very Words by His Spirit granting authority to the LXX by reading from it. ”

    This must force you to always accept the longer reading. I guess you’re with us on the ending of Mark and 1 John 5:7, as you accept both as authoritative. That also means that the Scriptures you accept have more verses than both the CT and the TR, as you’ll have two takes on the same verse in hundreds of places. It gets better from there, because you also accept as authoritative all the absurdities and corruptions of the LXX, leading to 3+ different renditions of verses in your Old Testament.

    Either you’re doing this – or you’re doing exactly what Kent said: making decisions on the fly. Or letting Metzger and friends make the calls for you. You can’t accept two contradictory testimonies and declare them both authoritative. We mock our Interfaith foes for such tortured logic as “they’re both right” when they contradict. And then to try and bring Christ in and declare him the author and approver of this confusion? That shouldn’t be so. You’ve looked to the wisdom of man, the bulk of whom are unsaved, then worked your way backward to paint Christ as the divine author of confusion and error. Man says Christ quoted a corrupt translation, you accept their wisdom, and now corrupt translations have the divine seal of approval?

    I know you can’t see it d4, but you’re replicating the well worn path of false doctrine. A teaching is developed by man independent of Scripture. The Scriptures are then interpreted in light of the teaching of man. Confusion and contradiction results, and you end up opposing yourself. Then, as always happens, the false teaching reflects back on God, and now God is ascribed as the author of confusion. Nothing in the Bible or the nature of God suggests that He would lend his authority to a mangling of His Words, but the teaching you have accepted takes you to the opposite conclusion.

  15. d4v34x
    March 29, 2010 at 6:37 am

    “…but you’re replicating the well worn path of false doctrine.” Coming from the guy who called one of our most tenacious defenders of the faith an “ear tickler”, I’m not sure this is the reproach you think it is.

    Your ‘longer reading’ assertion is non-sequiter.

    There is a difference between textual variants and mutually exclusive truth claims.

    What’s the difference between letting Metzger et al do it and letting Erasmus et al do it?

  16. March 29, 2010 at 10:33 am

    D4,

    I haven’t read anything from Joshua that I didn’t disagree with. Perhaps it comes down to defining what “the faith” is. Is faith confusion, doubt, and uncertainty? I’ve believed that those were the opposite of “the faith.” You are going to be left with something in the realm of a conceptual Word of God. I see that is where it is right now with the CT/eclectic guys. They aren’t concerned about having the “very words,” but they gave up on the “words” so gave up too on the perfection and the authority of Scripture.

    What is the stumbling block over which you stagger? Textual variants. Men made errors in hand copies. So do we not know what God’s Words are?

    I don’t believe his “longer reading” is a non-sequiter. You say all the Words are in both. The TR has far more words. Metzger says you take the shorter reading. You’ve got to eject from the TR right there, and, therefore, you are throwing out theological presuppositions, because those are what the acceptance of the TR is based upon.

    I don’t understand your next sentence, the one with mutually exclusive truth claims in it.

    Erasmus printed a NT, but that doesn’t mean his NT was accepted by God’s people as the very Words of God. However, the text he printed did represent the text handed down by God’s people. There are very, very few differences between Erasmus’ printed edition and the other TR editions.

    You can’t accept a miracle of divine providence, that the church settled on the words. Since you can’t, you will never be sure what God’s Words are. I’m going to deal with the Septuagint argument hopefully once and for all over at What Is Truth. It is a liberal position, however, that makes a conclusion not taught at all in scripture for the sake of accepting error. It is akin to the error of the Jesus Seminar in which acceptable error is read into the differing gospel accounts. They’re not different in character. I believe that both have equally damaging consequences.

  17. d4v34x
    March 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    The sentence that didn’t make sense to you was a response to Joshua’s “We mock our Interfaith foes for such tortured logic as “they’re both right” when they contradict.” I may have missed his meaning, however.

    As for, “. . . the church settled on the words . . .” Two questions. 1) Just which church do you reference here? 2.) What are you going to do when the church settles on the C/ET?

  18. March 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    1) The New Testament church. Churches that believed and practiced the Bible believed in the perfect preservation of every Word. That’s all you read doctrinally when they agreed upon the text behind the KJV. That’s the only text with any claim of perfection. Not CT/eclectic person claims perfection for any text.
    2) By nature, the CT/electic text can’t be settled. They will never be sure. What they have canonized is uncertainty, so you will have that as long as people take their position.

  19. Joshua
    March 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    d4,

    I think we might have wires crossed – I read your sentence above to be stating that you believed both the TR and the CT to be authoritative. They are contradictory testimonies, hence the interfaith analogy. The rest of my 2nd and 3rd paragraph attempts to follow the “they’re both right” idea to it’s natural logical conclusions.

  20. d4v34x
    March 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I see. My response stands then.

  21. Joshua
    March 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Fair enough. Kent re-asked most of these, but I’ll answer your short-answer stonewall point at a time, in similar fashion.

    ““…but you’re replicating the well worn path of false doctrine.” Coming from the guy who called one of our most tenacious defenders of the faith an “ear tickler”, I’m not sure this is the reproach you think it is.”

    Not reproach, warning. Tenacious defender of faith is an interdenominational evangelical intellectual. No such role seen in Scripture.

    “Your ‘longer reading’ assertion is non-sequiter. There is a difference between textual variants and mutually exclusive truth claims”

    Your first sentence translates to “nuh-uh!”, so I answer “is too!” TR claims the ending of Mark is Scripture. CT claims it isn’t. One is wrong. Mutually exclusive.

    “What’s the difference between letting Metzger et al do it and letting Erasmus et al do it?”

    Erasmus work was very different to Modern Textual Critic.

  22. d4v34x
    March 30, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Joshua, Simply because I believe that when Jesus read from the LXX in the synagogue and declared what he had read fulfilled that he affirmed the LXX had authority does not mean my only logical option is to accept various longer readings in the TR. I guess I could call both non-sequiter and false dichotomy. @Bro. B., I never said all the Words were in both. I said I accept them both as having authority. That is no fine distinction.

    I reiterate, the TR and C/ET contain no mutually exclusive claim(s). The editors of each might make different claims as to what portions of the various manuscripts of Mark are canonical, but the texts themselves make no such claim. Unless you can direct me to a reference that states, “the Gospel of Mark ought to contain thus and so . . .” Again, an important distinction.

    Regarding Dr. Carson: you’ve got to be kidding me. The Scripture knows nothing of a blogger, either, but Bro. B. and many others are defenders of the faith via that avenue. I would be willing to bet (figure of speech) that Dr. Carson is a member of a local church. Surely those who hold that office are allowed to participate in the defense of the faith, tenaciously even.

    Erasmus chose between textual readings based on a set of criteria. Since you seem to indicate that the criteria of the modern textual critic are . . . corrupt(?), what are the Biblically prescribed/indicated criteria for choosing between alternate readings? Are those the criteria Erasmus used?

    No stonewalling there, sir.

  23. Joshua
    March 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    D4,

    1st paragraph: We must have vastly different definitions of authoritative then.

    1. Having or arising from authority; official: an authoritative decree; authoritative sources.
    2. Of acknowledged accuracy or excellence; highly reliable:
    3. Wielding authority; commanding: the captain’s authoritative manner.

    Number 2 is where I think it fails. Either the CT is of acknowledged accuracy or excellence, or the TR is. Or neither. But not both. I understand there is no verse stating their accuracy, but they can’t be simultaneously authoritative in the normal sense of the word. If I write a three page testimony, then declare it authoritative except in portions on page 1, 2 and 3 then I have a tautology. An erroneous authoritative document. The TR and the CT both claim to represent the autographa. If they didn’t – then why would anyone pick it up and translate it and call it the Word of God? To call both authoritative requires a new definition of the word.

    I’m not arguing that Carson should be excluded from defending the faith because he isn’t a pastor. I wasn’t trying to bring reproach on you by comparing you to him. I’m reading his book “The Gagging of God” and have enjoyed most of it. I warn about Carson because of the three points I raised in my short answer, and all relate to what Brandenburg has written above. He is interdenominational, and that is unbiblical. He moves in mutliple denominational circles and in order for him to do so, he must needs take the hyperhumble approach to avoid offending the loose confederation of conservative evangelicals. For instance, he was in my city a few years ago as the speaker at an ecumenical Easter Conference. This same Conference was the place where I was first taught the evangelical doctrine of “primary/secondary/tertiary”. His role as an intellectual seems to have exalted him as a pillar of the faith in the minds of many, and yet it seems to me to be his greatest weakness. There does seem to be a place for intellectuals, but not the place they have been given in modern Evangelicalism. Carson is a much a part of the problem with what is happening in Evangelicalism as he is the solution.

    As for the Biblically prescribed criteria, the most important one adhered to would be that the reading preserved and received by the churches is to be used which is seen in Erasmus outright rejection of Alexandrian text. Christ committed His words and Truth into the hands of the church and believers. I don’t have a point by point list of his criteria, but it seems to be remarkably different from the varying lists you’ll find here: http://www.cob-net.org/compare_greektext.htm. Unsurprisingly, they came up with vastly different results.

  24. d4v34x
    April 1, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Actually, it’s denominations that aren’t biblical, and one could argue that Carson rightly ignores them and just interacts with “the church”. Btw, I wasn’t saying you were comparing me to him (I surely don’t compare myself to him); that wasn’t my point.

    No, we don’t have a different understanding of the word “authoritative”; we have a different understanding of what Jesus did in the synagogue at Nazareth. I contend he read from the LXX (which is probably more divergent from the /augtographa/ as the CT or TR) and treated it as authoritative, declaring that what he had just read was fulfilled that very day.

    Furthermore, we have different understandings of what the promise of preservation actually is.

    From thence our disagreement springs and will remain, and I see little point in continuing this discussion here. I am pleased to relinquish to you and Bro. B. the opportunity to make uncontested any further points you wish to make.

    Grace and Peace, gentlemen.

  25. Joshua
    April 2, 2010 at 2:32 am

    I still contend you have a definition of authoritative that encompasses contradiction. I do agree that denominations are unbiblical, but so is association with false teachers and practicers. I know you weren’t comparing yourself to Carson – I just wanted to make clear that I didn’t consider it a “shameful” thing to be associated with him.

    I think you summarized the rest pretty well. I contend you hold to a false teaching on the nature of the church, on preservation. You contend the opposite. Kent has argued for both far better than I ever could and you’ve still come down on your side, so I do agree that we won’t get much further. Thanks for your responses and time. Looking forward to reading what you think of Kent’s upcoming take on the LXX theory.

  26. Joe
    April 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks, Kent. I agree your article as originally written. (No need to improve it.
    ) It explains why, when I or any other foolish believer states a faithful fact (that is a fact to us based upon faith) we get a lot of questions that lead to questions that lead to really nothing. I appreciated that someone else had noticed what I have noticed. You write it well.

    Believe me, it helps some of us Christians who came to know Christ because of faith. I really think that some of these post-modernists, especially pastors, have come to their posts by knowledge and experience only, without faith. I am an engineer, and I came to my capabilities by the infusion of knowledge and continued practical experience. There was no faith involved beyond the human faith that I have in my own capacities to learn and the paycheck I get for performing.

    When I became a Christian, the Holy Spirit communicated, and he led me to his word. I believe him and his word. Period.

    Joe

  27. May 1, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Kent:

    Number Two Way… is very well stated

    Because we have liberty in the so-called non-essentials, it ‘essentially’ doesn’t matter what you belief and practice in those areas. We’ll still have unity with you if you disagree only in the non-essentials.”

    The ce camp in particular is willing to unify at the expense of fidelity to the Scriptures. I also believe their list of non-essentials is growing to accommodate greater and more egregious error and/or compromises. Mohler and Duncan signing the Manhattan Declaration as well as Piper’s invite of Rick Warren have both been brushed aside for the sake of unity.

    Tragically, a segment of men who identify themselves as biblical separatists in Fundamental circles are adopting this same mindset so that can unify with them as well. Kevin Bauder has not said one word about either the MD or Piper/Warren. To date Dave Doran is silent on the Piper/Warren fiasco; his ultimate conclusion to the MD was that is was merely, “a wrong decision based on bad judgment.” Speaks volumes about the new mindset of tolerance.

    LM

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