Why Restorationist Textual Criticism is a False Doctrine

In Doctrine of Scripture, Preservationist Textual Criticism, Providential Preservationby Chris ThomasLeave a Comment

The textual issue, as has been stated before, is not solely an issue over different texts of Scripture, but one over epistemic authority.  Is God’s word our foundation for evaluating truth claims in all areas of life?  Or is it only valid in religious areas and in non-religious areas we must rely upon our autonomous human reasoning uninformed by Scripture?  According to Scripture (2Cor10:4,5) ALL truth claims are to be evaluated by the standard set forth in Scripture.  This includes the claims of Restorationist Textual Criticism.

Below we are going to look at various writings of the Reformers on Scripture, and how a rejection of what they teach leads to heresy.  The writings of the Reformers will appear, and following that the logical consequence of what they wrote.

39 The word of Christ contained in the Holy Scriptures Propheticall and Apostolicall shall judge all men in the last day. John 12.48. Rom. 2.16. Revel. 20.12. What hinders then, but that it may be unto us in this life a Perfect Rule?

40 For if there be any part of celestiall doctrine not contained within the Canonicall books: How shall the judgement which shall be passed hereafter according unto them, be entire?

41 Furthermore, seeing that it is not onely permitted, but also commanded to all Christians to try the Spirits, 1. John 4.1. to beware of false prophets, Matth. 7.15. to prove all things, 1. Thess. 5.21. and thus it lies upon them to discern between divine truth and humane dreams: certainly the rule of truth, that is, the Holy Scripture belongeth unto all men. And therefore, The common people ought not to be debarred the reading of the Scripture.

A golden chaine of divine aphorismes written by John Gerhard Doctor of Divinitie and superintendent of Heldburg. Translated by Ralph Winterton fellow of Kings Colledge in Cambridge Gerhard, Johann

If correct Restorationist Textual Criticism would make God an unfair judge because it assumes that in the past and in the present we do not have an accurate example of God’s word. 

25 Now if the Scripture be perfect (as indeed it is) Away then with Traditions, which some would thrust upon us to be received with like affection, and to be beleeved with like authoritie as the Scripture.

26 For they are full of doubts, and sometimes also contradictions, being very apt to be corrupted, and many waies subject unto errour.

A golden chaine of divine aphorismes written by John Gerhard Doctor of Divinitie and superintendent of Heldburg. Translated by Ralph Winterton fellow of Kings Colledge in Cambridge, Gerhard, Johann

RTC is just a new tradition first codified by Richard Simon as part of the counter-reformation to attack Sola Scriptura.  It was further developed by the German Rationalists who incorporated their atheistic view of Scripture into the philosophy and principles of RTC.

“Mal. 3. 6. I am the Lord, I change not. As God is, so it his essence; and as his essence is, so are his attributes; and as his attributes are, so is his word; and as his word, so is our faith grounded upon it, immutable. Nothing is more unsteady than the needle in a dyall or compasse, shaking and quivering continually; yet if it be touched with a loadstone, and set to the north, it resteth unmoveable; in like manner though nothing be more variable and unsteady than our assent to mysteries above reason and nature, yet if it be touched by the spirit, and fixed to the word of God, it remaineth unmoveable, and the church of Christ ever holding and embracing this faith, may truly use the motto of the Phoenix of her age, Queen Elizabeth, semper eadem, always the same.”

Daniel Featley, Roma Ruens, Romes Ruine being a succinct answer to a Popish Challenge, p. 7

“If a skilfull Jeweler will not grind out a small spot, or cloud out of a rich stone, though it somewhat dimme the bright lustre thereof, because the substance is so precious; shall we lose, or sleightly passe by any Iota, or tittle of the Booke of God, which shall out-last the large volumes of the heavens? for heaven & earth shall passe away, but not one Iota, or tittle of the Word of God shall passe. The Jewish Rabines say, that great mountaines hang upon the smallest jods in the Bible. And St Chrystostome will not endure a devout Christian to let goe any syllable in the Scripture, no nor pricke, or point without observation. Surely if God so carefully preserve the smallest parcels of Scripture, he would have us religiously observe them.”

Featley, Clavis Mystica, p.42

If RTC advocates are correct, then God has lied because His word has not been kept pure (immutable) in all ages.

“That as God hath a care of the Scriptures from the beginning, so shal he have a care of them still to the worlds end, that there shal not one jote ore one tittle of the substance thereof be taken away; so saith the Text, vers. 18.” (Mt 5:18)

Anon, The confession of faith, and the larger and shorter catechisms First agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. And now appointed by the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, to be a part of uniformity in religion between the Kirks of Christ in the three kingdoms. Together with the directions of the general assembly concerning secret and privat worship: and the summe of saving knowledge, with the practical use thereof. (Glasgow: Printed by Robert Sanders, 1669), Sum of Saving Knowledge, not paginated.

“The Letter of Scripture hath been preserved without any Corruption in the Original Tongue, The Scriptures were not corrupted before Christ’s Time, for then Christ would never have sent the Jews to the Scriptures; but he sends them to the Scriptures, John 5.39. Search the Scriptures. Christ knew these Sacred Springs were not muddied with Human Fancies”

Thomas Watson, A Body of Practical Divinity (London: Thomas Parkhurst, 1692), 13.

RTC accuses Christ of deceiving the Jews

“That the two Tables written immediately by Moses and the Prophets, and the Greek Copies immediately penned by the Apostles, and Apostolical men are all lost, or not to be made use of, except by a very few. And that we have none in Hebrew or Greek, but what are transcribed. Now transcribers are ordinary men, subject to mistake, may faile, having no unerring spirit to hold their hands in writing.

These be terrible blasts, and do little else when they meet with a weak head and heart, but open the doore to Atheisme, and quite to fling off the bridle, which onely can hold them and us in the wayes of truth and piety: this is to fill the conceits of men with evil thoughts against the Purity of the Originals: And if the Fountains run not clear, the Translation cannot be clean.

The best is, this doth concern the learned, who can best get out of such scruples as these, it being made plaine to them by the Jewes themselves (no friends to Christian Religion) That the Hebrew Text is curiously preserved by them in its integrity. For if the Oracles of God were (as they were, Rom. 3. 2.) committed them, it deeply concernes the Providence of God to look to it, that the Jewes should keepe the Oracles of God not onely safe but pure, not onely from not being lost, but also from not being corrupted.

It’s out of question that the same God, who committed the Oracles to the Jews, did also take care that they should preserve them safe and sure, uncorrupt and pure.”

Capel’s Remains, pg. 39-41

RTC opens the door to atheism

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