In a recent comment dealing with this post by Taylor DeSoto’s There is No Modern Doctrine of PreservationThere is No Modern Doctrine of Preservation James White has decided he’s going to “examine” Taylor’s post. Here’s the comment below:
Let’s examine the form of this argument to see if it’s any good.
First, to criticize what Taylor has said by stating Taylor’s criticisms are invalid because Taylor hasn’t done the work of a textual critic is a fallacious argument. It takes the following form:
You cannot examine and analyze X to see if it comports with Scripture, unless you are an expert in X and a practitioner of X that has done work in the field in favor of X.
Is this view consistent with the teaching of Scripture?
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;
Ephesians 4:17, 18 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
From these verses we see that we are to make Scripture the standard by which we evaluate all truth claims, we are not to think independently from Scripture, and we must be always ready to provide an answer to anyone that asks about the reason for our hope.
According to Scripture, we do not need to be an expert in any-field-X, to examine and analyze the veracity of the claims of that field nor to determine whether or not those claims comport with Scripture.
But now that we have the form of the argument, let’s try it with different fields.
You cannot examine and analyze the Gay Christian Movement to see if it comports with Scripture, unless you are an expert in Gay Christian Movement and a practitioner of GCM that has done work in the field in favor of GCM.
You cannot examine and analyze the Critical Race Theory to see if it comports with Scripture, unless you are an expert in Critical Race Theory and a practitioner of CRT that has done work in the field in favor of CRT.
You cannot examine and analyze theistic evolution to see if it comports with Scripture, unless you are an expert in theistic evolution and a practitioner of theistic evolution that has done work in the field in favor of theistic evolution.
James White cannot examine and analyze Islam/Mormonism/Roman Catholicism to see if it comports with Scripture, unless James White is an expert in Islam/Mormonism/Roman Catholicism that has done work in favor of them in the fields of Islam/Mormonism/Roman Catholicism. And by work, he must make arguments for Islam/Mormonism/Roman Catholicism within their framework.
It’s rather obvious now that the form of Mr. White’s “argument” leads to known absurdities and is therefore inconsistent. Because of this, his argument has been reduced to an absurdity. It is a shame that no one has told him that an inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument.
Now while it is true that one must become familiar enough with a subject to analyze it according to the standards of Scripture, that is not what Mr. White is claiming. One doesn’t need to be an expert and do work in favor of a position to evaluate that position. I don’t have to become an expert in atheism and do work in favor of atheism to determine that atheism is contrary to the teaching of Scripture. I don’t need to be an expert in textual criticism and do work in favor of it to determine that it is contrary to the teaching in Scripture about Providential Preservation. I merely need to know the philosophy behind it (Rationalism & Empiricism) and its methodology and whether or not these comport with Scripture. Neither Rationalism nor Empiricism are biblical philosophies. Conjectural emendation is a form of arbitrariness and therefore inconsistent with Scripture. The idea that the older mss are to be preferred, the harder reading is to be preferred, the shorter reading is to be preferred, that Scripture can be treated like any other book of the ancient world, and that the doctrine of preservation taught in the confessions and in the writings of the Reformers is inconsistent with Scripture is false.
Restorationist Textual Criticism originated during the counter-reformation as an attack on Sola Scriptura. It was later developed through the 18th & 19th centuries by German Rationalists who rejected the supernatural origin of Scripture and its miraculous preservation. Because those who developed it did so to undermine the authority of Scripture and rejected the authority of Scripture, we know that according to Scripture it is a false doctrine and therefore heresy.
From these examples it should be obvious how foolish Mr. White’s argument is. The problem with his argument is that he has missed the point of Taylor’s post. Taylor has accurately pointed out that RTC advocates have no doctrine of preservation. They only affirm the same view of preservation that attends all artifacts of the ancient world. The preservation of Scripture according to the RTC advocate is essentially no different than the preservation of Plato’s Republic, Josephus’ Histories, the writings of Tacitus, or Caesar’s Gallic Wars. And because Scripture is considered no different than these other works, we can use the same methods we used on them to determine what Scripture says. This is a foolish argument because it is contrary to Scripture.
Instead of seeking controversy to gain viewers, Mr. White’s time would be better spent studying the Reformers and their reasoning from Scripture about Scripture’s preservation. For unlike Mr. White, they treated the preservation of Scripture as what it is: a doctrinal issue.
In the second part of his statement he claims that Taylor is begging the question. But again this shows Mr. White has no understanding of the issue at hand: what is our final authority for evaluating Greek mss and their variants? Taylor’s post is just another way of exposing that RTC advocates have no objective foundation for evaluating Greek mss and their variants because they reject Scripture as their ultimate authority and replace it with their own autonomous human reasoning and failing to understand that this is a doctrinal issue. This is the same thing he said in the Pub back in October 2015 which you can read here: Captain Deflector Hits a Truth Wall. Such reasoning by Mr. White is sinful because it does not bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.