I’ve been away from this issue for a while to take a much needed break from the nonsense RTC Advocates engage in. And I have focused most of my time upon reading the works of the Reformers referenced in Garnet H. Milne’s book, Has the Bible Been Kept Pure? The more I read of their works the more clearly it is shown that the true issue when it comes to “Which Text?” isn’t a textual question at all. It is an epistemological question. This of course should be no surprise to anyone who has read the Reformers. And we see this clearly expressed in 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 – 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;
It is obvious from this verse that Scripture commands us to bring every truth claim to Scripture to determine if it is true or false. And yet, time and again when confronted with this inescapable truth, RTC advocates always attempt to avoid this very issue. In the Reformed Pub in October of 2015, Mr. White stated that we don’t appeal to Scripture as our final authority in evaluating Greek manuscripts and their variants. And during his debate with Dr. Jeffrey Riddle he expressly stated, when I asked him, that no such standard exists. Which of course is an outrageous claim for one professing Christ to make. His statement is the same as if he had said that Scripture itself doesn’t exist.
But another issue is that those of us who hold to the confessional view sometimes follow these misguided fools down the rabbit hole of arguing over texts and attempting to justify variants. And this is where our side disobeys God. How so?
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.Proverbs 26:4,5
Our side must focus more on pointing out that our argument isn’t over which Greek manuscripts to use. Nor is it over which variant is correct. Our argument with the RTC advocate is over the standard by which we evaluate these claims. For us it is the Bible, but for them it is their own autonomous human reasoning. And their reasoning is condemned in Scripture as idolatry. Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. They have elevated their minds above Scripture and made their own reasoning the judge of what is and what is not Scripture. This is where our side must hold their feet to the fire. Then we must point out the places where they hypocritically ignore their own method in arriving at a conclusion. Dr. Riddle did this during his debate with Mr. White and showed that Mr. White is inconsistent when he talks about how many Greek manuscripts there are as if that somehow proves the veracity of Scripture and then completely ignores the vast majority of evidence in favor of the longer ending of Mark because he supports two Greek codices (Aleph & B) which contain Gnostic and Arian heresies.
Our conversation with these idolaters must begin with a challenge to their epistemological foundation. There must be no discussion with them about textual variants and manuscript choices until they provide the following:
- An exegetical foundation from the authentic Greek & Hebrew texts for their evaluating philosophy and their methodology
- An exegetical argument against the Reformed doctrine of Providential Preservation from the authentic Greek & Hebrew texts
- A clear explanation of how they avoid the logical contradiction of destroying the foundation of their exegetical argument (the authentic Greek & Hebrew texts) while replacing that foundation with their preferred texts
Without the above proofs, they have no textual argument. Their claims are arbitrary and logically inconsistent without the above proof. And any time they wish to discuss manuscripts and texts, they must be told, Not until you provide the aforementioned evidence. They must also explain why they make so much noise about the preponderance of textual evidence while ignoring the vast majority of that textual evidence in their textual choices. Which of course takes us right back to point 1 where they must provide from the authentic Greek & Hebrew texts an exegetical argument for their evaluating philosophy and methodology. In other words, they must not be engaged on any other point until they provide the above three required proofs.
Now they may claim, but where’s our proof? Simple, we have the writings of the Reformers and their condensed expression in the Reformed confessions of faith. And Garnet H. Milne’s book, amongst others, clearly shows that the Reformers did not hold to the modern view, that they rejected textual variants and manuscripts that differed from the printed Textus Receptus that they used. The burden of proof does not rest with us who hold the Confessional View of Scripture. It solely rests with the RTC advocates who wish to overthrow the historic and reformed view of Providential Preservation in favor of the counter-reformation view of Scripture first expounded by the Jesuit Richard Simon.