Making Mountains Out of Molehills – Part 2

In Critical Text Onlyism, James White, Pericope de Adulterae, Textual Criticism by Chris ThomasLeave a Comment

Making Mountains Out of Molehills

Part 2

[Part 1][Part 3][Part 4]

This is the 2nd part in the series covering Mr. White’s Apologia episode.

31:00 People are afraid, they just want black and white
31:20 Dr. Dan Wallace, leading textual scholar of our day; There are many, many people who are willing to trade the truth for certainty.
31:43 And many of those people are sitting in the pews of our churches
31:47 They don’t realize what they’re doing; they’re willing to close their eyes to factual evidence I don’t want to know about this because that threatens my sense of certainty.

This is a false dichotomy. You can’t trade truth for certainty. It is truth which gives you certainty. Regrettably, Mr. White & Dr. Wallace both are willing to trade truth and certainty for uncertainty and arbitrariness. Neither man holds to the doctrine of Providential Preservation as found in Scripture. In fact Dr. Wallace considers the doctrine of Providential Preservation to have been an erroneous invention of the Westminster Divines. (See here: Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Textual Criticism and here: Jeff Riddle & Dan Wallace ) Mr. White rejects the Biblical doctrine of Providential Preservation for the naturalistic view of preservation. But his view of preservation is arbitrary. When he talks about the “multi-focality” of the manuscripts, their geographic distribution, he ignores the majority of Greek mss in favor of the Alexandrian mss which have the lowest geographic distribution. His manner of expression in this segment is very condescending towards the layman in the pew. Perhaps the reason they don’t wish to hear his so-called “factual evidence” is because they know from the testimony of the Spirit that Mr. White is undermining their confidence in Scripture.

32:16 “The only true certainty is one that is built firmly upon the truth itself.”

Ironically, Mr. White makes a correct statement which undermines his entire textual position. Throughout this presentation and others like it, Mr. White has continued to assert with great certainty a textual position that is not built upon the truth itself.  RTC has no objective/exegetical foundation.

32:30 Reformed Community – What happened that triggered all this is there’s another text…

At this point Mr. White attempts to compare those of us who hold to the Confessional View as equivalent to the above people who wish to trade truth for certainty. Such ad hominems are standard fair for him.

32:44 John 7:53 – 8:11 – Here begins his comments against the Pericope de Adulterae
33:37 Claims that knowing about the Pericope de Adulterae & the Longer Ending of Mark disarms Dr. Bart Ehrman and his followers
34: 12 Longer Ending of Mark & the Pericope de Adulterae

Knowing about these textual issues does nothing to disarm Dr. Ehrman nor his followers. As demonstrated by Dr. Ehrman during his debate with Mr. White, Mr. White agrees with 8.5 out of the 9 points that Dr. Ehrman presented in his book Misquoting Jesus. The disagreement between the two is over the conclusion which should be drawn. Dr. Ehrman follows these 8.5 points to their logical and inevitable conclusion which is a rejection of Scripture as God’s word. Mr. White only fails to do so by God’s grace. However, he holds to the same underlying assumptions about Scripture as Dr. Ehrman. The only way to deal with Dr. Ehrman is to understand the Confessional doctrine of Providential Preservation and to understand that the textual critic offers nothing more substantial against the Confessional view than a will-o-the-wisp. They have no argument. They only have arbitrariness and inconsistency which they assert with great certainty.  And yet they cannot justify their certainty. He is however correct in stating that if we were to teach Christians these issues we would easily disarm Dr. Ehrman. However, they must be taught that Restorationist Textual Criticism has no teeth. One question undoes the entire practice. And this question is one that Mr. White has continuously avoided since last year: What is the objective/exegetical foundation for Restorationist Textual Criticism? As there isn’t one, he can only offer arbitrariness and inconsistency against the Confessional View.  The only reason Dr. Ehrman gets away with making the statements he does is because too many in Christendom have made the mistake of trusting Mr. White and others like him on these issues, instead of trusting the self-authenticating nature of Scripture.

35:13 better manuscript evidence for Mark’s Ending than the Pericope

Dr. Riddle has effectively dealt with both the Longer Ending of Mark and the Pericope de Adulterae in his Word Magazine series. And has demonstrated that Mr. White is essentially ignorant of the facts.

35:39 Repeats his statements about the Pericope
36:00 Mentions the thread in the Reformed Pub about whether or not one would preach the Pericope
36:25 Thinks the Pericope originated from a later tradition. “I don’t want to preach what scribes hundreds of years later thought was.”

36:35 “Many people in the Reformed Pub disagreed.  They disagreed.  Because, ‘but the church has used this.’  Now immediately as a, as a person who has taught church history for years. I just, I just get goosebumps, because that was the exact argument used against Erasmus when he dared change the Latin Vulgate.”

First, the reason for disagreement wasn’t simply because the Church used the text.  It was because the text has been in continual usage by God’s people throughout history.

Second, Mr. White equivocates on the term church.  When people in the Reformed Pub pointed to its usage by God’s People throughout history they were referring to the Universal Church and not the Roman Catholic Church.  This was rather obvious and in asking about Church councils and such he presents a straw man.

Third, it was not the exact argument used against Erasmus.  The difference is between a translation and the authentic Greek text.  Erasmus was dealing with people championing a translation.  The people in the Pub were championing the authentic Greek text of the Confession.  Again, Mr. White presents a straw man.

37:20 Mentions KJVO advocates

In this part Mr. White tries to make a comparison between KJVO advocates and those who hold to the Confessional Text view.  This is a straw man.  It’d be nice if he stopped engaging in so many logical fallacies.  It’s distracting.  After this he again mentions the red herring of translation when the issue in the Pub was about the authentic Greek text vs the modern critical text.

37:45 Vague, nebulous assertions that Church usage is how we determine what the text of the NT is.

This is a gross over-simplification of what was said in the Pub.  And again he equivocates between the Universal Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

38:00 Mentions his Disputatio with Douglas Wilson

38:10 “Now there is no one Ecclesiastical Text.  And unfortunately when you ask someone, well what is the ET? Some people will say the Textus Receptus is the ET.  Why?  Well, because it was the default text of the Reformers.  That’s not really true.” Mentions Calvin’s Commentaries.

Dr. Jeff Riddle deals with and shows the errors of Mr. White’s comments in his presentation:  John Calvin and Text Criticism

39:00 Mentions the margin notes in the AV with textual variants.

Again a red herring and an example of equivocation. What the Reformers & AV translators noted as textual variants are on a very different scale than what Mr. White calls a textual variant. They were mentioning textual variants within the TR tradition. They did not consider the Pericope, Longer Ending of Mark, the Comma, 1 Tim 3:16, etc. up for grabs as do Mr. White and RTC advocates.

39:24 Well what is the Ecclesiastical Text? Mentions his Disputatio again. Claims that an appeal to continual usage by God’s people means we don’t have to worry about textual critics.

That is not the position of the Confessional Text view.  Confession Text advocates deal with textual critics much more effectively than do RTC advocates like Mr. White.

40:15 You can get all Van Tillian and presuppositional about it until one thing happens: until you go, ok what is the reading at?

He doesn’t realize that the problem of determining any reading of the text with any amount of certainty is his problem and not a problem for those of us who hold to the Confessional Text view. The readings are already determined. You find them in the printed editions of the Textus Receptus. Mr. White however has no objective method for determining any reading any where in Scripture since he refuses to start with Scripture in his textual process. RTC is arbitrary because it does not have Scripture as its objective foundation. Does an RTC critic think “ουκ” belongs in 2 Peter 3:10? (It’s in NA28) Does another RTC critic think “ουκ” does not belong? How do you objectively determine who is right? And that’s the problem for Mr. White. He, and RTC advocates have no objective foundation for the practice of RTC. Those of us who hold to Preservationist Textual Criticism begin our process with Scripture and not with liberal and non-Christian textual critics. Only Scripture can provide the foundation for judging which Greek manuscripts are important and how textual variants among them must be dealt with. And this was accomplished and completed during the Reformation period. Mr. White in asking his question is rejecting the doctrine of Providential Preservation in WCF/2LBCF1.8 and assuming later Greek manuscript discoveries should overturn the judgment of God in history about what is the authentic Greek text.

40:32 Because vague generalities do not produce specific texts.

Ironically this applies to his position and not to the Confessional View.

40:38 And I brought up Luke 2:22

Dr. Riddle deals with Luke 2:22. As does Thomas Holland. Mr. White claims to know what Luke originally wrote by using a method of dealing with textual variants based upon naturalistic methods and autonomous human reasoning. One cannot know anything with certainty when one starts with an arbitrary and inconsistent foundation.

41:22 “So then the question then becomes, has God then made sure that what He wrote has come down to us today. I absolutely affirm he has done so. I don’t that he has done so in the way that either KJVO or TRO or ETO say that he has done it. I believe he has done it through the entirety of the manuscript tradition. I view the discoveries we have had over the past couple of hundred years as great gifts to the church. Given to the church at the very time when we need them most.”

See my above comments about his unbiblical view of preservation and his straw manning by bringing up the KJVOs. Mr. White does not believe God has preserved his word through the “entirety of the manuscript tradition” as he discounts the great majority of the Greek manuscripts that contradict the Critical Text. As to the discoveries being given at the time when the Church needs them the most, nonsense. The Church would be just fine if all she were left with tomorrow were the Textus Receptus. In fact she would be much healthier if she switched back to the authentic Greek text which God used to bring about the Reformation.

41:58 “And unfortunately if you take the Ecclesiastical Text perspective, you end up basically saying that these papyri manuscripts are garbage.”

And so what? Here Mr. White is pushing his unargued bias that the papyri have greater value than the authentic Greek text. He has never, nor can he ever, prove this. This is essentially the sum total of his argument: the Textus Receptus is bad, the Critical Text is good. He has zero objective proof for his bias.

42:25 “Again I go, what church are we talking about?”

Again he equivocates on the term church knowing full well that the people in the Pub where referring to the Universal Church and not a geographically local church or group of churches.  Yes the Universal Church is made up of Christian churches throughout history.  But Mr. White should know better than to attempt to compare historical usage of a text by God’s people throughout history to either a Church council or the Roman Catholic Church.  One could simply ask him which Church council authorized the canonical books of Scripture to show the ridiculousness of his asking such questions.

42:47 Claims the Eastern Orthodox only used the Byzantine text because that’s all they had

Again Mr. White asserts the unprovable as fact. Does he know for certain they had no access to Alexandrian texts? No, he does not. But why was the Byzantine text the text they had? Because it’s the one they copied and considered authoritative. I have begun to wonder if Mr. White’s blindness to his historical and textual blunders are due to his having repeated these unproven and unprovable stories for so long.

43:05 “And so, what do you mean when you’re talking about the quote-unquote Ecclesiastical Text? And if it’s going to be such a vague thing, why criticize those of us that can actually produce a text from which you can make Bible translations, when you can’t produce a text from which you make Bible translations”

This is one of the more ludicrous claims in his presentation. The ET isn’t a vague thing. It’s the Textus Receptus which you can go here and buy one: Textus Receptus. However, the CT is always subject to change every year depending upon manuscript discoveries and the changing whims of vain men. The idea that you cannot make translations from the Textus Receptus shows that Mr. White has a serious deficit in his grasp of the facts. Below are the English translations of the Textus Receptus:

  • Tyndale New Testament 1526-1530
  • Coverdale Bible 1535
  • Matthew Bible 1537
  • Great Bible 1539
  • Geneva Bible 1560-1644
  • Bishops’ Bible 1568
  • King James Version 1611,1613,1629,1664,1701,1744,1762,1769,1850
  • Quaker Bible 1764
  • Webster Bible 1833
  • Young’s Literal Translation 1862
  • Julia E. Smith Parker Translation 1876
  • Darby Bible1884,1890[citation needed]
  • Children’s King James Bible 1960[citation needed]
  • New King James Version 1982
  • Tyndale’s New Testament edited by David Daniell 1995
  • Green’s Literal Translation 1985. Included in 1986 The Interlinear Translation.
  • The people’s New Testament: A literal translation of the Textus Receptus : text of the Greek New testament Unknown Binding – 1996
  • Third Millennium Bible 1998 [28]
  • Analytical Literal Translation 1999 [29]
  • AV7 The New Authorized Version of the Holy Bible in Present-day English (The AV7 Bible
  • The Holy Bible Lighthouse Version By David Plaisted
  • Holy Scriptures V-W Edition 2010
  • Mickelson’s Hilkiah Edition New Testament Interlinear : An English Translation interlined with the Hebraic-Koine Greek of the Textus Receptus, the 1550 Stephanus (Hebrew Edition)
  • Real – New Testament By Hadarel Corporation
  • King James Version Easy Reader 2010
  • 1599 Geneva Bible by Tolle Lege Press 2010
  • Jesus’ Disciples Bible 2012
  • The Revised Young’s Literal Translation 2012
  • Holy Bible: King James Version With Apocrypha Paperback – October 4, 2012 by Derek A. Shave
  • The Names of God Bible (KJV) by Ann Spangler 2013
  • Proper Name Version of the King James Bible
  • Jubilee Bible 2000 2013
  • Besorah Of Yahusha Natsarim Version
  • The Complete Koine-English Reference Bible: New Testament, Septuagint and Strong’s Concordance Kindle Edition 2014 by Joshua Dickey
  • Modern English Version 2014 [30]
  • The New Testament Textus Receptus Edition Paperback – April 7, 2015 by Christopher Vaughan
    A Layman’s Translation of the New Testament By Joel Cartmell
  • King James Version 2016 Edition

All of that from a quick look at Wikipedia.  This does not include the foreign language translations of the TR such as Luther’s translation, the French Olivetan, Italian Diodati, Spanish Riena-Valera, Dutch Statenvertaling, and many more.

This is the end of Part 2.  Part 3 may have less of a timeline as I am getting bored dealing with the same unsubstantiated claims and unprovable assertions espoused by Mr. White.


Leave a Comment