Answering the Tu Quoque

In Confessional Textual View, Restorationist Textual Criticism, Textual Myths by Chris ThomasLeave a Comment

Occasionally an advocate of Restorationist Textual Criticism (RTC) will show a bit of self-awareness and accuse those of us who affirm the Confessional View of Scripture (CVS) of being hypocrites.  This is called the “Tu Quoque” fallacy.  Literally it means “you also”, but is usually a way to avoid criticism by turning the criticism back upon the other person.  Here’s how it works.

CVS Advocate:  Since you RTC Advocates make your final authority your own autonomous human reasoning, you can never escape arbitrariness nor inconsistency in your reasoning about the Greek mss and their variants.  Furthermore, without the autographs you have no method of verifying your textual decisions.  Therefore, they have no weight nor significance for the body of Christ.

RTC Advocate:  Oh yeah, well you can’t verify your claims either without the autographs!  Nyah, nyah, nyah!! (To me they always sound like petulant children.)

But this merely shows their ignorance of 1) our position and 2) of Scripture itself

Our position places the locus of final authority for how we know what we know in the only place we as Christians are allowed to place final epistemic authority:  the Scriptures.  RTC Advocates place it in the same place Eve placed hers:  in their own autonomous human reasoning.  And like Eve, they sin.

We know this to be the case from passages such as:

Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 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;

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

1 John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

The point of all these verses is that if Scripture has not, as 2LBCF/WCF 1.8 states, been kept pure in all ages by God’s singular care and providence, then the above verses are absolute nonsense.  We cannot know that we now have the truth originally written, which is not only necessary for our justification & sanctification but for our theory of knowledge, reality, ethics, and every other sphere of life to make life coherent, unless that originally written truth has been preserved in toto down to our day.  It is no good to say it exists or existed somewhere, but until some time in the future to be determined by the activities of RTC Advocates, we do not yet know nor ever have known it in every particular verse.

The entire foundation of the Christian faith depends upon the autographic text not only being kept pure in all ages amongst the apographs, but also being known in all ages.  For how could the Spirit, who is truth, bear witness to the truth about Christ, sanctify us through the truth, which is the word of God, unless that word had been kept pure in all ages?  It is ludicrous to believe that the Spirit for 1800 years led God’s people, the Church, to believe, base doctrine upon, defend until death, things that are not Scripture.  Which is the view espoused by all RTC Advocates.  Furthermore, we as Christians are commanded by God to evaluate every thought of ours and others by the standard set forth in Scripture.  Such a commandment is meaningless and cruel if God did not keep his word pure throughout all ages.  And the only purity that will suffice is purity of every word and sentence (Mt 5:18).  In other words, for the verses above mentioned, and for that matter the entirety of Scripture, to have any value whatsoever, they must have existed and been identified in their autographic form throughout the history of the Church (John 10:27).  The logical consequence of this should be clear:  RTC Advocates are quite simply wrong in their view of preservation and in their claim that the Reformers did not have the autographic text in their printed Greek & Hebrew editions.  Even worse, the RTC position is nothing short of calling God a liar in His word.  This is nothing more than atheism in disguise.


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