Has the Bible Been Kept Pure?

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The Westminster Confession of Faith and the providential preservation of Scripture

The Westminster Confession of Faith and the providential preservation of Scripture

This book is more specific than Muller's Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics Volume 2, as it deals with the specific issue of Providential Preservation

"This work of historical theology looks at the religious epistemology of the Westminster divines and especially what they meant in their Section 1:8 of the Westminster Confession of Faith when they stated that the Scriptures had been kept pure in all ages by God’s providence. I discuss whether they meant to teach that only the doctrine or the doctrine in its autographic text of Scripture had been preserved entire. The Westminster divines held that both the sense or doctrine and the pure text of the original revelation in the original languages had been kept pure through all ages. I argue that their view is the view of Reformed orthodoxy and indeed articulates the claim that the Bible is the autopistic or self-authenticating Word of God. This was an essential position for the Protestant Reformation and its heirs, because it rested ultimate divine authority in the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures as the supreme judge of religious matters. This was in contrast to the Roman Catholic view that the church was that supreme authority. This debate is a matter of interest today, because the question of authority is still very much alive. For the most part evangelicals have accepted the new textual-critical paradigm of the modern textual critics that the recovery of the autographic text is at least an on-going project, and some would say an impossible project. Such a stance removes epistemological certainty for many, and is a radically different position than that of the Reformed orthodox in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is a view which must be recovered by the church, because, as the Puritans realised, it is required to provide certainty in the authority of the Holy Scriptures, which is a precondition of a subjective assurance of faith."


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