ADDENDUM: Since it may not be clear, those advocating for RTC are not guilty of damnable heresy But the promotion of an atheistic view of Scripture with all of its logical consequences is by definition heresy. Even if they do not understand the logical consequences of affirming RTC. This is serious issue with dire consequences for Christendom. We cannot trivialize the seriousness of this issue for the sake of peace. But there are two types of advocates for RTC. Those espousing it because they think they’re defending the gospel and have been taught by people like James White and those who know they are misrepresenting the facts of history like James White. And so dealing with them must be different. The first one requires we educate them, but it also requires their willingness to actually read the works recommended them. Some do, some don’t. Many times those that don’t end up becoming contentious when shown their views are incompatible with Scripture and the Reformers. Now while we must be patient with them, something I have failed it in the past, patience must not be an excuse to justify sinful behavior on their part. For the second group, they must be called to repentance and told to stop lying. These are the ones who bring schism into the body of Christ. Such people meet the definition of heretic given by John Gill below.
One of the things I’m glad to have seen over the past four years is the growth of the Confessional View of Scripture to the point where RTC advocates are actively misrepresenting the work of the Reformers in order to deal with the CVS. That may seem to be a weird thing to be glad of, but it shows that they understand that like the Refomers, our argument is doctrinal and not based in autonomous human reasoning. This is why RTC advocates must misrepresent the Reformers. At some level they understand that their view is contrary to what Scripture actually teaches.
While this is a good thing we are starting to have problems within our own community that need to be addressed going forward. Otherwise we are in danger of being like the Covenanters who lost a major victory due to their quibbling over theology.
Issues we need to watch for and correct going forward
The Crux of the Argument
One area where we lack a united front is on how to deal with the “arguments” of RTC advocates. Here are some verses we should all keep in mind when interacting with RTC advocates:
Proverbs 26:4, 5: Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
2 Corinthians 10:4, 5: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Proverbs 26:4,5 comes into play when we are dealing with the textual variants in the Greek mss. One of the claims made by RTC advocates is that we are inconsistent or have no methodology for dealing with textual variants. This is due to our using the philosophy and methodology of RTC to demonstrate the inconsistencies among RTC advocates themselves and not to actually argue for any specific TR reading while using RTC philosophy and methodologies. However, sometimes CVS advocates will attempt to argue from the extant evidence in support of a certain passage of Scripture while in part assuming the very foundation of RTC. This is a losing argument. The reason should be self-evident: since RTC has no objective foundation any textual conclusion an RTC advocate arrives at is purely arbitrary. And since their decisions are guided by their bias against the TR, they will naturally reject reasoning in favor of the TR from the incomplete textual evidence. That is why when arguing from the evidence we should do so only to show how inconsistent and arbitrary they are. Our argument is a doctrinal one. Scripture tells us how we can know which Greek mss are authoritative and which variant is correct.
2 Corinthians 10:4,5 comes into play when we look at the philosophy and methodologies of RTC. One question I and others have consistently been asking for years of RTC advocates is, What is your objective foundation for evaluating Greek MSS & their variants? This question should be the “tip of the spear” when engaging with RTC advocates. And it must be pressed home until they become silent or repent of their heresy. For they cannot answer it without admitting that what they are doing has no objection foundation, is purely arbitrary, and is according to Scripture sin. This is why when faced with this question they invariably engage in histrionics, throwing out red herrings, ad hominems, and attempts to anachronistically read back into the Reformers the counter-reformation view of RTC.
Another key area where CVS advocates must be united is in understanding that the texts championed by RTC advocates teach doctrines contrary to the orthodox faith. It should be self-evident to those who affirm the CVS that the texts of RTC advocates are an implicit rejection of the doctrines of Providential Preservation and the Sufficiency of Scripture. Furthermore, there are other significant doctrinal changes when one abandons the TR in favor of an RTC text. They can be read on this page: Doctrinally Significant Verses. The bottom line is this, RTC texts create logical contradictions in Scripture and undermine or destroy cardinal doctrines of Christendom.
A rather strange argument is now cropping up in CVS circles. There is apparently an attempt to undermine the AV in favor of the Geneva by disparaging the work of the AV translators and talebearing against King James. Part of the argument is since the AV translators weren’t of a specfic theological group, their work can’t be trusted. This is a ridiculous contention known as an ad hominem which violates the 9th commandment. The Geneva translation, like the AV, relies heavily on the translation of William Tyndale. And of course, neither Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, Tyndale, nor the Elzevir brothers would have held to the views of people making this assertion. By their own argument, the Geneva itself is also discredited. They will never find their “pure” text prepared by their group. This type of mentality is very similar to the Baptist Brider nonsense.
The last issue I want to deal with is the issue of heresy. Restorationist Textual Criticism is an heresy. Whether or not an RTC advocate sees it as such, it is heresy and it must be repented of. Our side must unite on this issue and treat the heresy of RTC with the seriousness it deserves. It is a rejection of the testimony of the Holy Ghost among God’s people, the Church, for over 1800 years. It is an affirmation of Satan’s question to Eve in the garden: Yea, Hath God said? And it is atheistic reasoning about the word of God brought into the church from German Rationalists and Papists. RTC must be treated as the heresy it is and its advocates (those who promote it or work on the Greek New Testament) as heretics. So what is heresy and an heretic?
John Gill on Titus 3:10
A man that is an heretic
An heretic, according to the notation of the word, is either one that makes choice of an opinion upon his own judgment, contrary to the generally received sense of the churches of Christ, and prefers it to theirs, and obstinately persists in it; separates from them, forms a party, and sets himself at the head of them, whom he has drawn into the same way of thinking with himself: or he is one that removes and takes away a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, which affects particularly the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity, and personality of Father, Son, and Spirit, and especially the doctrines relating to the person, office, and grace of Christ; one that brings in, or receives damnable doctrines; speaks or professes perverse things, and draws away disciples after him; or is among such disciples: for though schism and heresy do differ, and every schismatic may not be an heretic, yet every heretic is a schismatic; he makes a rent in the doctrine of Christ, and makes parties and divisions in his church; and such are not always to be contended and disputed with, but to be avoided and rejected:
after the first and second admonition reject;
have nothing to do with him; have no society with him; admit him not to private conversation; and eject him from church communion, after he has been publicly admonished twice by the order of the church; for this is not to be understood of private admonition, by a particular person or persons; as in the case of private offences, ( Matthew 18:15 Matthew 18:16 ) but of public admonition, in the name of the church. An admonition with the Jews did not continue less than seven days; some say thirty; that is, there were so many days before it was out, or between one and another.
It should be understood, that the average layman who gets his information from a pastor, should not be so treated but presented with the materials showing why it is unbiblical and has no place in Christendom. We would do the same with Roman Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses as many of their laymen do not understand their own doctrine. But once they are provided with that information and then choose to affirm an heresy, at that time they must be called on to repent. Some CVS advocates may not like this part. Some wish to be nice to RTC advocates. However, if you love them, you will confront them with the truth. Otherwise you are showing hatred towards your brother by minimizing his sin for the sake of “peace”. For those CVS advocates who are still in disagreement with calling out there heresy of RTC, I leave you with this quote from John Calvin: “We are all agreed that peace is not to be purchased by the sacrifice of truth.”