Preservation: How and What? Part 4

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Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Biblical doctrine is teaching derived from Scripture. While we may possess many strong convictions based on our experiences, on our understanding of history, or on the opinions of experts, these do not rise to the level of biblical doctrine or tests of orthodoxy.

The case of Bible preservation is no exception. Any position we identify as “the doctrine of preservation” must be taught in Scripture. In this series I’ve argued that while Scripture does give us a doctrine of preservation, that doctrine does not include all the particulars some attach to it. God assures us that His Word will endure forever and will not pass away. He assures us that believers will have sufficient access to His Word until all is fulfilled.

But some insist that the true doctrine of preservation must also include all of the following:

  • Every word in its original form
  • Continual access by many believers
  • Certain identifiability in the form of a perfect text

That every single word is preserved is not in dispute. Whether it is preserved on paper, parchment or vellum here on earth is disputed by a few. Whether it is preserved here on earth in a discrete form we can point to and say, “there is the word-perfect preserved text” is contested by many.

A clear view of the central question

This series has not aimed to examine the case for perfect text preservation (PTP) comprehensively. Rather, my aim has been to scrutinize the biblical facts and identify what believers may properly term “doctrine of preservation.” Do we have biblical statements that say, or clearly imply, that believers will always have access to every word of Scripture in the form of a text they know is flawless?

Please note what the question is not. It is not, “Do verses indicate God’s Word will last forever?” It is not, “Do passages teach that God has tasked His people with maintaining written copies?” It is not, “Do verses emphasize that the words of Scripture are vital for Christian doctrine and Christian living?” Nor is the question, “Do people try to distort and sabotage the words of God?” Finally, the question is not, “Is God able to overcome human nature so that those He chooses perfectly preserve the text?”

The answers to all of these questions is yes. But if we look closely at what Scripture claims regarding the how-and-what details of preservation—and read the relevant passages with a scriptural view of human nature in view—what we see over and over again is that PTP is neither stated nor clearly implied.

A final look at Thou Shalt Keep Them

In part 3, I focused on the book Thou Shalt Keep Them (TSKT) as an example of one of the better efforts to establish PTP biblically as the correct doctrine of preservation, and evaluated several key passages. Here, I’ll consider remaining biblical arguments in the book, some of the secondary Bible-related arguments, and a few miscellaneous other points.

“It is written”

In TSKT’s eighth chapter David Sutton argues for PTP based on the perfect tense employed in the phrase “it is written.” The phrase occurs frequently in the NT to mark quotations from OT passages. Since the Greek perfect “shows completed past action with the results of that action continuing to the present” (p.76), Sutton observes, “Based on their inspired use of the perfect passive gegraptai, the writers of Scripture believed in perfect preservation” (p. 81).

Though Sutton’s explanation of the perfect tense is accurate, the chapter does not support the particulars of word-perfect text preservation. First, “it is written” expressed the condition that existed at the time the NT writers used the phrase. The tense does not communicate anything about the future. Second, “it is written” expressed the stands-written quality of the particular passages they were quoting. The writers did not say, “It stands written, along with every single word God ever inspired.” Third, even if we take the phrase to mean “will always stand written” and include every inspired word, the phrase still falls short of informing us that we will always be able to identify every word that stands written and access every one of them in the form of a perfect text.

“The word is very nigh unto thee”

Chapters 9 and 10 aim to support the continuing availability of every word of Scripture. In ch. 9, Kent Brandenburg examines Deuteronomy 30:11-14 and Romans 10:6-8 (where Paul quotes from the Deuteronomy passage).

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Deut. 30:11-14)

The argument focuses on the nearness communicated in the passage, especially by the phrase “the word is very nigh.”

[The words] could also just reside in heaven, which the text goes on to dismiss as a valid possibility. God guaranteed access to the Words would not require passing over a sea. … Since hearing and doing is dependent on accessibility, the text promises that these Words will not be inaccessible.* (p. 89)

Soon after, the author illustrates a widespread error in TSKT’s argument—the leap from “words” to “every one of the words.” “By saying that His Word is available, the context clearly implies that every one of His Words is also accessible” (p. 90). However, the passage does not say that every jot and tittle had to be in their “mouths” before they could obey.

“Mindful of the words… Remember the words”

The same leap from “words” to “every word” occurs in Gary La More’s chapter (10) on 2 Peter 3:2 and Jude 17. Peter and Jude warn their readers to be “mindful of the words” and “remember the words,” respectively. The chapter fails to make a strong case but claims to have done so anyway:

The correct and obvious interpretation of these texts and the implied belief of the apostles was that they had every Word of God preserved and available to them. Based on legitimate application of this text, the Lord’s true churches today have available to them not only the Words of the Old Testament prophets but also the Words of the New Testament apostles and other New Testament writers. The teaching of the availability of every Word of Scripture has been and continues to be a strong basis for opposing the attacks on the teaching of Scripture by apostates. (p. 94)

Indirect biblical arguments

Chapter 15 focuses on the phenomenon of textual attack, a genuine problem, to be sure. But the reality of this problem does not help us find a biblical answer to the question of whether God’s people are able to maintain perfect texts.

Chapters 16-18 defend the thesis that proper doctrine cannot be maintained without PTP. These chapters provide dozens of examples of passages where differences in manuscripts have doctrinal implications—if each passage in question is taken alone. But there’s the rub. None of the texts in question actually do stand alone. None of them is even the primary—much less exclusive—basis for the doctrine in question.

A random example is 1 Peter 2:2. Here, the UBS Greek text reads “that you may grow up into salvation” (ESV), whereas TR reads “that you may grow thereby.” Gary Webb and David Sutton conclude that “the TR never says to grow into salvation, for this is works salvation” (p. 190). But by this standard, Philippians 2:12 would also be teaching “works salvation,” along with James 2:24 and other passages. The doctrine of salvation by grace through faith is abundantly clear in Romans and numerous other passages and informs our interpretation of 1 Peter 2:2, with or without “grow into salvation.”

Every textual difference in these chapters is similarly non-decisive doctrinally. Though the examples are numerous, they do not add up to evidence that we must have every word in hand in order to maintain proper doctrine. We are able to believe and do what we should despite the variations among the manuscripts. It’s easy to see why. We know what we’re being told to do whether someone says, “Go jump in a lake” or “Depart and deposit yourself with vigor into a body of water larger than a pond but smaller than an ocean.”

This is not to say the actual inspired words are unimportant. Rather, it illustrates the fact that accurate knowledge of what God wants us to believe and do is not dependent on every pronoun, article and suffix being perfectly preserved.

Other arguments

TSKT offers several additional arguments. Chapter 19 argues that just as the 66 books of the biblical canon were established because the churches received them, so also the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus are received. The implication is that we cannot accept canonical books without accepting the canonical words. But, in reality, the books of the Bible are canonical because God inspired them. His people were able to exercise discernment and recognize their inspired quality, but how does one discern whether “he” or “who” is the inspired reading in a passage where the theological meaning is unaffected by either option? In any case, employing the canonicity argument in favor of the MT and TR in particular rests on one’s interpretation of history.

Pseudo-arguments are employed in TSKT as well. Examples include guilt by association (with theistic evolution, p. 143; with humanism, p. 47; with rationalism pp. 151, 255 and others), as well straw man fallacies—such as Webb’s question, “Should believers put their faith in Bibles put together by unbelieving textual critics?” (p. 50. Though the textual scholarship of unbelievers has had a role, no translations available today are based on texts put together exclusively by unbelieving critics.)

A little mind-reading is sprinkled through TSKT as well. Various writers characterize all who disagree with them as holding to their views because they want to win the esteem of liberal academia (p. 126), or because they have embraced rationalism (pretty much all of Addendum C), etc. In most cases, these assertions are not supported by any evidence beyond the fact that the targets do not accept the PTP view of preservation.

But these are all distractions from the more fundamental question. By a large margin, what matters most in the preservation debate is whether Scripture reveals a doctrine of preservation that includes the how-and-what particulars of word-perfect text preservation.

One thing is certain. God has preserved His Word in the manner in which He chose and in a form that is sufficient for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.

*TSKT consistently capitalizes “Word” and “Words” whenever they refer to the words of Scripture. In quotations, I have attempted to follow the capitalization in the source. Sometimes the result looks a little odd because, at SI, we generally only capitalize “word” and “words” when using these as titular synonyms for “the Bible.”


Aaron Blumer, SI’s site publisher, is a native of lower Michigan and a graduate of Bob Jones University (Greenville, SC) and Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). He, his wife, and their two children live in a small town in western Wisconsin, where he has pastored Grace Baptist Church (Boyceville, WI) since 2000. Prior to serving as a pastor, Aaron taught school in Stone Mountain, Georgia and worked in customer service and technical support for Unisys Corporation (Eagan, MN). He enjoys science fiction, music, and dabbling in software development.

Thanks

Thanks again Aaron for the work you put into this. I think your summary here is excellent. Your point on doctrine is, to me, the crux. Show me where any major doctrine is altered by any translation or even the paraphrases. It isn't. I also agree strongly with your observation regarding history. I have become increasingly alarmed at the widespread acceptance of undocumented historical views such as "The Trail of Blood" as well as various textual histories that are given. Too much of it simply historical fiction.

Jon Bell
Bucksport, ME
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and

History & divisiveness

I haven't researched the historical part of the question much. I think if we can establish that this is not legitimate doctrine, folks are then free to interpret the history as they believe the known facts warrant and take a non-doctrinal stand. That is, it's still legitimate in my view to apply the principles of preservation to one text or another, but the principles do not include a promise of word-perfectness in what humans have made, so the application has to take the form of a "we believe this text best represents what God has preserved" on historical grounds. What you have then is not doctrine put a position. The difference is important because if it cannot rise to the level of Bible doctrine, it is not appropriate for groups to be divisive and militant on the matter to the degree many have been.

"Separation" over text and translation would still sometimes be appropriate for practical reasons but not as a matter of rejecting "false doctrine" or "unbiblical compromise" etc.

Great post

Aaron,

I think you did a great job in this four part series. (I'm assuming it is only four parts). Another text I'd use to counter the claim that 1 Pet. 2:2 teaches works salvation in the modern versions, is Rev. 22:14 in the KJV. New versions like the ESV say the ones who have the right to the tree of life who may enter the heavenly city are those "who wash their robes". The KJV says it is those who "do his commandments". So the charge could easily be levied against the KJV that it teaches "works-based salvation".

Thanks again for the work on this.

Bob

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Four parts

Thanks, Bob. Yes, four parts. I'll be glad to move on to other topics for a while. I hope folks will continue to find it helpful. I may do another post on the general topic but along the lines of annotated bibliography. I would like to get caught up on the literature on the subject and make the results of that available to folks in some form that is friendlier and more useful than just a list of titles. Down the road.

for your bibliography

Be sure to include One Bible Only? Examining the Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible edited by Kevin Bauder and Roy Beacham (Kregel, 2001) on your bibliography. That is the single best book on the issue in my opinion. I've read widely on the topic but that book covers everything especially well.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Brevity

Yes, it's on my short list. One of its great strengths is brevity.
Another really good one is God's Word in Our Hands eds. JB Williams and Randy Shaylor. From Ambassador Emerald in 2003.
It does not appear that we have a good popular-level book devoted entirely to the subject of preservation though (on the non-PTP side of things). At least, I have not seen one yet. (Hmm... shd I write one? I've got four chapters already).

Tks

Thanks, David. Just gave it a quick peruse it looks like Combs' piece is very thorough.

Don't forget Combs' excellent

Don't forget Combs' excellent piece on [URL=http://www.dbts.edu/journals/1996_1/ERASMUS.PDF ]Erasmus[/URL ] and also his article on [URL=http://www.dbts.edu/journals/1999/Combs.pdf ]errors in the KJV[/URL ].

I have amassed some helpful articles pro and con on the KJV Only debate at this site: the [URL=http://www.freewebs.com/kjvonlyresearch/index.htm King James Only Research Center[/URL ]. You can click on defending or answering KJVO for the list of links. I'm eventually going to source all this info over on my KJV Only Debate Blog at [URL=http://kjvonlydebate.com ]KJVOnlyDebate.com[/URL ].

Just sharing resources for anyone interested in further discussion.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Thx

Appreciate that, Bob.

Read page 39 of the Erasmus article

Bob Hayton wrote:
Don't forget Combs' excellent piece on [URL=http://www.dbts.edu/journals/1996_1/ERASMUS.PDF ]Erasmus[/URL ] ....

I love Comb's quote (from Bentley) in the Erasmus article on page 39:

Quote:
Quote:
Again it was assumed that the making of the Vulgate Latin version had been guided by inspiration of the Holy Spirit; it had been sanctified by eleven hundred years of use in the Latin Church; and it was most intimately related to the most sacred traditions of worship, piety and doctrine. Many thought that to turn aside to the Greek was not only unnecessary, it would begin the dissolution of the Catholic authority.14
In addition, many medieval scholars, beginning in the twelfth century, had even begun to teach that the Latin Scriptures were more reliable than the Greek.15

By replacing "Vulgate" and "Latin Scriptures" with "KJV 1611" we can agree with Solomon that there truly is nothing new under the sun.

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

MShep2 wrote: By replacing

MShep2 wrote:
By replacing "Vulgate" and "Latin Scriptures" with "KJV 1611" we can agree with Solomon that there truly is nothing new under the sun.

And then you have the Septuagint being prized by Augustine and most of the church in the 300s AD. Jerome's going back to the Hebrew for the Old Testament was not appreciated either.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Less enthusiastic.......................

Aaron, I cannot respond with enthusiastic praise as others because I profoundly disagree with your conclusions, which are untenable, and your arguments, which are less than persuasive. A brief critique of the following will demonstrate.

Aaron wrote:
In TSKT’s eighth chapter David Sutton argues for PTP based on the perfect tense employed in the phrase “it is written.” The phrase occurs frequently in the NT to mark quotations from OT passages. Since the Greek perfect “shows completed past action with the results of that action continuing to the present” (p.76), Sutton observes, “Based on their inspired use of the perfect passive gegraptai, the writers of Scripture believed in perfect preservation” (p. 81).
Though Sutton’s explanation of the perfect tense is accurate, the chapter does not support the particulars of word-perfect text preservation.
Based on your preceding statement, I understand that you are not contesting the linguistic analysis but your objection is founded on the three reasons given below.
Quote:
First, “it is written” expressed the condition that existed at the time the NT writers used the phrase. The tense does not communicate anything about the future.
This statement, along with the preceding statements, seemingly indicates acceptance of the premise that the writers accepted Scriptural preservation from the past to the present time of the writing. Your sole point appears to be that nothing is indicated of the future preservation. If so, it is an inane argument from silence. In fact, it is more reasonable to assume that if preservation was active from the past into the presence, then there is no reason to suppose that it would not continue into the future.
Quote:
Second, “it is written” expressed the stands-written quality of the particular passages they were quoting. The writers did not say, “It stands written, along with every single word God ever inspired.”
As I understand your point, you are saying that the phrase only applies to the quoted Scriptures. Again, you appear to be in agreement with Sutton's premise that these specific Scriptures are indeed perfectly preserved from the past into the presence, although no declaration of the future is made. If so, it is pointless and nonsensical to argue that these and these alone of the Scriptures are perfectly preserved. If these are perfectly preserved, then it is perfectly reasonable to infer that the other Scriptures are perfectly preserved as well.
Quote:
Third, even if we take the phrase to mean “will always stand written” and include every inspired word, the phrase still falls short of informing us that we will always be able to identify every word that stands written and access every one of them in the form of a perfect text.
This is a red herring. You cannot impose this requirement upon this passage. This is rather like saying that although the Scripture teaches that all Scripture is inspired of God (II Timothy 3:16), it does not tell us what Scripture is so how do we know what is inspired and what is not inspired? Apply your same arguments to inspiration and you will end without inerrancy, infallibility, authority, and eventually inspiration.

Aaron, this is nothing against you personally. You are undoubtedly a good man, a devout Christian, a student of the Word, and a sincere follower of Christ. However, I cannot out of kindness, good-will, or friendly feelings toward you acquiesce to your specious arguments. Although I would not call your arguments heretical, I do see latent danger in your rationalistic (Yes, I know that you don't like this term but no other one fits) views in the trust and acceptance of God's Word by future generations. Debate is rather like boxing with your friend, you throw your best and hardest punch although you have nothing against the guy.

Canonization................

Aaron wrote:
TSKT offers several additional arguments. Chapter 19 argues that just as the 66 books of the biblical canon were established because the churches received them, so also the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus are received. The implication is that we cannot accept canonical books without accepting the canonical words. But, in reality, the books of the Bible are canonical because God inspired them. His people were able to exercise discernment and recognize their inspired quality, but how does one discern whether “he” or “who” is the inspired reading in a passage where the theological meaning is unaffected by either option? In any case, employing the canonicity argument in favor of the MT and TR in particular rests on one’s interpretation of history.
Aaron, I'm somewhat guilty of not doing my homework--I have not completely read TSKT but I have browsed through it. So, I'm not really very familiar with the argument it makes on canonization but I will say that herein lies a watershed of the whole preservation issue. You are not really being fair and open by refusing to deal with this question. You are selectively choosing the ground to defend or attack. Again, the question for you is what you have challenged the Preservationists: "How do you know which books are canonical?"

Assumptions: Valid or Invalid?

Aaron wrote:
Pseudo-arguments are employed in TSKT as well. Examples include guilt by association (with theistic evolution, p. 143; with humanism, p. 47; with rationalism pp. 151, 255 and others), as well straw man fallacies—such as Webb’s question, “Should believers put their faith in Bibles put together by unbelieving textual critics?” (p. 50. Though the textual scholarship of unbelievers has had a role, no translations available today are based on texts put together exclusively by unbelieving critics.)
A little mind-reading is sprinkled through TSKT as well. Various writers characterize all who disagree with them as holding to their views because they want to win the esteem of liberal academia (p. 126), or because they have embraced rationalism (pretty much all of Addendum C), etc. In most cases, these assertions are not supported by any evidence beyond the fact that the targets do not accept the PTP view of preservation.
Aaron, I challenge you as being less than objective, even-handed, and unbiased here. It seems that you may be doing a little mind-reading of your own. I appreciate your sincere commitment to Biblical fidelity and your deliberate effort to be fair and factual but bias does show and it is not always evident to one's self. One must recognize that many times what appears to be one thing may be another. Sometimes a writer fails to support his argument or makes jumps and leaps that are clear to himself but obtuse to another. At times, one does not have the luxury of time and resources to properly support his reasoning. Other times, he may be writing for a select audience that knows and understands his line of thinking so that development is deemed unnecessary. Often, reviewers and critics take advantage of these foibles. It does not, however, mean that the position has been refuted or is necessarily wrong. It may not have been persuasively stated. Least I am overly critical of your post, I understand that it is in all of us to cheer for the home team regardless of how the game is going.

This and that

My response to the "it is written" argument: what I did was offer several counterarguments beginning with the weakest and finishing with the strongest. The one you declared to be a red herring is actually the strongest argument there: the tense and voice of "it is written" does not communicate anything about the nature of what is preserved that is anywhere near what PTP requires (every word, continuously accessible in the form a word-perfect text).

Quote:
This is rather like saying ...

No, it isn't.

Canonization: what I believe about how the books of the Bible are recognized really has no bearing at all on what the Bible teaches about its preservation. My argument there is that recognizing the canonicity of the books is a very different process from recognizing which words/forms of words among the MSS are correct readings. In the article I summarized very briefly why it is different.

"Cheering for the home team." Well, take it that way if you like. I've really aimed this series at those who are studying the matter and want to get at what the Bible teaches about its own preservation and what it does not teach about that preservation. The kinds of pseudo arguments I mentioned .... I do not call them pseudo arguments to be snide but to point out that they do not engage with any of the relevant facts and are, in fact, a method of not engaging with what the verses actually say and do not say.

As I mentioned in the conclusion of the piece, whether proponents of PTP believe all others are following rationalism or are trying to win praise of academia etc. is immaterial. The real question is whether Scripture teaches PTP and, therefore, whether it can be properly termed Bible doctrine.
You're going to find that I keep coming back to that.

Pseudo arguments?

Aaron Blumer wrote:
My response to the "it is written" argument: what I did was offer several counterarguments beginning with the weakest and finishing with the strongest. The one you declared to be a red herring is actually the strongest argument there: the tense and voice of "it is written" does not communicate anything about the nature of what is preserved that is anywhere near what PTP requires (every word, continuously accessible in the form a word-perfect text).
Aaron, you are assuming criteria for PTP that are not necessarily established. Establish these criteria first. Your subsequent arguments are nothing if these criteria are not true and necessary. Furthermore, if you disagree with the linguistic analysis, then why don't you say so and refute it?
Quote:

Quote:
This is rather like saying ...

No, it isn't.

Canonization: what I believe about how the books of the Bible are recognized really has no bearing at all on what the Bible teaches about its preservation. My argument there is that recognizing the canonicity of the books is a very different process from recognizing which words/forms of words among the MSS are correct readings. In the article I summarized very briefly why it is different.

How is it different?
Quote:

"Cheering for the home team." Well, take it that way if you like. I've really aimed this series at those who are studying the matter and want to get at what the Bible teaches about its own preservation and what it does not teach about that preservation. The kinds of pseudo arguments I mentioned .... I do not call them pseudo arguments to be snide but to point out that they do not engage with any of the relevant facts and are, in fact, a method of not engaging with what the verses actually say and do not say.

I'm not questioning your motives or intentions. I'm saying that you have not addressed the basic epistemological issues upon which all of your arguments rest. If your foundation is faulty, then your structure tumbles.
Quote:

As I mentioned in the conclusion of the piece, whether proponents of PTP believe all others are following rationalism or are trying to win praise of academia etc. is immaterial. The real question is whether Scripture teaches PTP and, therefore, whether it can be properly termed Bible doctrine.
You're going to find that I keep coming back to that.

Yes, I keep coming back to the basic contradiction that you cannot support ideas that you call doctrine (e.g. inerrancy, infallibility, etc.) under the same criteria and conditions that you try to impose upon the preservations. You are claiming a superior authority for your case that simply does not exist. The preservationists do have Scripture, although you do not agree with their interpretation and inferences, to support their views. What it boils down to is their view versus your view.

Complicating the simple

Roland, it's much simpler than all that. Either the Bible teaches that God will preserve an accessible word-perfect text or it does not. There are no "epistemological issues." We both believe the Bible, do we not? We both believe Bible doctrine must come from the Bible, do we not?
Part of the problem with your point of view is burden-of-proof confusion. Anyone who asserts that a set of ideas is a doctrine of Scripture has the burden to prove that from Scripture. I'm not "imposing" that on anyone. It's a result of the fact that words mean things: "Bible doctrine" has "Bible" in it.

What I have argued is that the Bible does teach that God preserves His word and that there will be sufficient access for as long as His people need it. I've backed that with Scripture, mostly in part 1. The second half of my argument has been simply to point out what the Bible does not teach and what, therefore, cannot legitimately be included in the "Bible doctrine of preservation." When one argues that something is missing from Scripture, he is still arguing from Scripture. Where else could we look to see that something is not there? Note the fact that all four parts of this series are dominated by examinations of Scripture.

RPittman wrote:
the basic contradiction that you cannot support ideas that you call doctrine (e.g. inerrancy, infallibility, etc.) under the same criteria and conditions that you try to impose upon the preservations.

Are you saying the Bible does not teach inerrancy and infallibility?

Dodging the question...........

Aaron Blumer wrote:

RPittman wrote:
the basic contradiction that you cannot support ideas that you call doctrine (e.g. inerrancy, infallibility, etc.) under the same criteria and conditions that you try to impose upon the preservations.

Are you saying the Bible does not teach inerrancy and infallibility?
NO, of course not! And you know full well that I believe inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures, so this is a diversionary tactic to dodge the issue. My point is precisely that you deny the preservationists the same kinds of arguments and inferential reasoning that we use to support inerrancy and infallibility. Nowhere do you find the explicit statement: "All Scripture is inerrant and infallible." Thus, if you believe that inerrancy and infallibility are Biblical doctrines, which I believe, then you must allow the same type of reasoning and inferences to the preservation argument, which I also believe. Furthermore, if you put inerrancy and infallibility on the level of Biblical doctrine, then you must allow that preservation is a Biblical doctrine if it is proven in the same manner. It appears that you are saying that Biblical doctrine is only what is explicitly taught in Scripture. If so, then you probably need to narrow your list of Biblical doctrines because more are conclusion and inference than you would care to admit.

Holey reasoning.....................................

Aaron wrote:
What I have argued is that the Bible does teach that God preserves His word and that there will be sufficient access for as long as His people need it. I've backed that with Scripture, mostly in part 1. The second half of my argument has been simply to point out what the Bible does not teach and what, therefore, cannot legitimately be included in the "Bible doctrine of preservation." When one argues that something is missing from Scripture, he is still arguing from Scripture. Where else could we look to see that something is not there? Note the fact that all four parts of this series are dominated by examinations of Scripture.

Aaron, this sounds safe, secure, pious, and orthodox but it is not necessarily holy as much as full of holey reasoning.

  1. Using the Scriptures as a basis for reasoning, although this is the most sure foundation, does not mean that the conclusions are valid or true (II Peter 3:16).
  2. It is not true that all we call Biblical doctrine is explicitly stated in Scripture. Much is by conclusion and inference.
  3. Because something is not stated in Scripture does not mean that something is missing because it isn't true. God has not chosen to reveal exhaustively (Deuteronomy 29:29).
  4. Many of the cults claim to base their false doctrines (e.g. Mormons, JWs, etc.) in Scripture. Your closing statement seems to be that you are right because you have used Scripture. So did the preservationists. I think you found that TSKT was full of Scripture references and arguments from Scripture, which you choose not accept. So, I cannot assent to your implied claim to a higher authority.

IMHO, most of your argument is about semantics--i.e. does preservation, although it may be true, attain to the level of Biblical doctrine? I'm more interested in whether preservation is true than how you classify it.

Naive assumptions..........

Aaron wrote:
Roland, it's much simpler than all that. Either the Bible teaches that God will preserve an accessible word-perfect text or it does not. There are no "epistemological issues." We both believe the Bible, do we not? We both believe Bible doctrine must come from the Bible, do we not?
No, Aaron, it's not that simple unless you have a Western rationalistic mindset. Even then, things don't work. Yes, I believe the Bible and I believe that Biblical doctrine is derived from the Scriptures. However, we disagree on how it is derived. One is rationalistic (what I can understand through reason) and the other is a more open, although reasonable, approach of faith and leading of the Holy Spirit. The working of the Holy Spirit is beyond our comprehension. However, the Scriptures teach it and I believe it.

BTW, one of the problems is that I have not seen where you have defined "an accessible word-perfect text." What do you mean by this? What are the precise requirements? And Aaron, yes, there are epistemological issues. You still do not seem to have grasped that you are interpreting thing according to your own epistemological construct. It seems that you cannot grasp that others operate outside your paradigm and do not share your methods. Therefore, you arguments are nonsense to them.

Rational thought

Mr. Pittman. How can you continue like this? What the church has always done is to see what scripture teaches and formulate doctrine from within that. There has also always been the temptation to formulate things as doctrine that are extra-biblical. So we can clearly see that the Bible teaches that there is one God and also that Christ and the Spirit are divine yet separate entities from the Father. So God must be Triune or else we cannot make any sense of the biblical data. Aaron has done a wonderful job of laying out the position for general preservation. Simply that the Bible teaches that the Word will be preserved and it is empirically true that we have the same Bible that the church has had since the Apostles finished writing it. Now you made it clear under section three of this article that you do not like that kind of straight-forward formula but this is exactly how the church has always worked with doctrine. If you find it to be overly influenced by Greek rationalism and further polluted by the developments of western rationalism then we have no traditional basis to understand ANY doctrine. If that is the case then I think you will have to show from your ontology how anything orthodox is true and valid. I just don't think you should expect many people to go along with you while you doing that! Our simplistic western rationalistic mindset has worked for nearly 2000 years as the Church has proclaimed the Gospel and taught orthodoxy. As soon as you start trumping reasonable thought submitted to the scriptures with piety you are in a swamp. If the Holy Spirit has mystically convinced you that the KJV is the perfect preservation for all English speaking peoples what do you say when others say that the Holy Spirit has mystically told them that the NASB, NIV, ESV, HCSB, NET or anything else it THE one? Then we are back to considering the evidence and the scriptures no where teach that any people will have a completely perfect (to the exclusion of all others) translation of the fixed Word of God. And Aaron has laid this all out well in this series.

Jon Bell
Bucksport, ME
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and

Reason for the question

Roland, the reason I asked if you deny that the Bible teaches inerrancy and infallibility is because you made this statement...

RPittman wrote:
you cannot support ideas that you call doctrine (e.g. inerrancy, infallibility, etc.) under the same criteria and conditions

The "criteria and conditions" I use are, simply put, does the Bible state the doctrine directly or strongly imply it. I'm not even saying "necessarily imply" it, which is a standard I think most people would accept for legitimate "biblical doctrine."
Since the Bible does strongly imply (I would say "necessarily imply") inerrancy/infallibility, it does in fact qualify as "biblical doctrine" by the same process I've used in developing the preservation doctrine I presented.

In short, my aim is to include everything in the doctrine that the Bible states directly or strongly implies. In the articles I presented arguments that showed the Bible does state it is preserved forever. I presented evidence that it strongly implies availably to at least some of God's people "until all is fulfilled." However, I also pointed out that the biblical evidence does not state or strongly imply some particulars: every word (identified for certain), wide accessibility, the form of a text that is known to be word perfect. These particulars of the PTP view are not stated or strongly implied and therefore are not "biblical doctrine."

Now, of course, a person may take what is revealed about preservation and apply it in the form of a conviction that we have every word preserved perfectly in this text or that. But an application is not Bible doctrine, it is application of Bible doctrine. Applications are very human things. Doctrine is revealed.
I have no problem at all with folks saying "It is my belief that MT and TR are the word perfect preserved texts based on the teaching of Scripture that God preserves His word (etc) plus my understanding of the history of assembled texts, and other evidence." However, the "plus" part goes external to Scripture and puts that position outside the scope of "biblical doctrine" and off the list of things that are appropriate tests of orthodoxy.
This, may PTPers are not willing to do. And they are doing wrong to identify "word perfect text" as the biblical doctrine of preservation.

Quote:
However, we disagree on how it is derived. One is rationalistic (what I can understand through reason) and the other is a more open, although reasonable, approach of faith and leading of the Holy Spirit. The working of the Holy Spirit is beyond our comprehension. However, the Scriptures teach it and I believe it.

Do you have any consistent method for identifying this kind of teaching? Any way of persuading others that it is correct? Is there any way of putting it in the form of argument? Or is it an intuitive "I feel this is what it means even though it doesn't say that" kind of thing? If it's the latter, we have nothing more to talk about. If another person does not feel the same thing you feel is true, there is no way to persuade them you are right. That sort of epistemology puts your conclusion completely outside the realm of inquiry.
All anybody can say is, I don't feel what you feel.

RPittman wrote:
BTW, one of the problems is that I have not seen where you have defined "an accessible word-perfect text." What do you mean by this? What are the precise requirements?
Well, I think it's clear enough for the purposes I used the term for. A text is a complete OT or NT in its original language. Accessible means lots of people can get to it and read it. Since I use the expression to describe the PTP view, what it means depends to a degree on what they mean. But exactly how widely accessible it would have to be in their view, I'm not sure. Didn't see that spelled out anywhere.
"Word perfect" just means word perfect: all the same words God originally inspired. In TSKT they even assert a few times that all the letters and Hebrew vowel points are preserved.

Examples of "texts" would be MT, BHS for Old Testament and TR, Majority/Byzantine, and NA27 for the New Testament (technically you have a couple of TR texts to choose from and of course, a few different editions of NA as well as the old Westcott-Hort... there are lots of texts).

RPittman wrote:
You still do not seem to have grasped that you are interpreting thing according to your own epistemological construct. It seems that you cannot grasp that others operate outside your paradigm and do not share your methods. Therefore, you arguments are nonsense to them.

Roland, tell me what your paradigm is and how it works and I'll see if I can give it a go. I'll try almost anything once.
I've been clear about what my epistemology is, what sort of thought process I use. So folks can decide they find it persuasive or not. But you have yet to tell us how you arrive at your conclusions so we can decide if they are persuasive.

Let's suppose for a moment that I am eager to think according to your paradigm. I'm a zealous disciple who wants to learn. Teach me how to arrive at conclusions the way you do.
I actually am extremely curious, since you've been referring vaguely to this Other Way for months. Could you either explain it or stop referring to it? I don't think that's too much to ask.

Are we communicating?

Jon Bell wrote:
Mr. Pittman. How can you continue like this? What the church has always done is to see what scripture teaches and formulate doctrine from within that.
And I have no argument with this simple statement. The question is how has the church done this?
Quote:
There has also always been the temptation to formulate things as doctrine that are extra-biblical.
Yes, I am not arguing with this. There are many errors even based on supposedly Scriptural reasoning.
Quote:
So we can clearly see that the Bible teaches that there is one God and also that Christ and the Spirit are divine yet separate entities from the Father. So God must be Triune or else we cannot make any sense of the biblical data.
This is precisely my point. The Bible does not explicitly state that there is one God in three Persons but it does clearly teach it. Even with all of our theological ideas, we are at loss in explaining and fully understanding the Trinity although we believe the doctrine. It is a parallel situation with preservation.
Quote:
Aaron has done a wonderful job of laying out the position for general preservation.
A slight corrective if I may rephrase this to say that Aaron has laid out his understanding of Scripture compatible to his though paradigm. He does not have an air-tight case even in his thought construct because he has left out some necessary inferences or essential unanswered questions.
Quote:
Simply that the Bible teaches that the Word will be preserved and it is empirically true that we have the same Bible that the church has had since the Apostles finished writing it.
Again, your statement is not quite accurate. I agree that he has established that Scripture will be preserved. He has not shown that the Bible has not changed. According to Aaron's own criteria, we can only know what the Bible explicitly states. So, we must limit his arguments to that.
Quote:
Now you made it clear under section three of this article that you do not like that kind of straight-forward formula but this is exactly how the church has always worked with doctrine.
Again, you are not accurate in saying, "[T ]his is exactly how the church has always worked with doctrine." No, the church has compared Scripture with Scripture and made inferences in formulating doctrine. Furthermore, there is the inexplicable role of the Holy Spirit that you are not factoring into this equation. This is a naive, satisfying generalization but it's not true. Again, see my earlier point about the Trinity, for example. Furthermore, if you just casually peruse the history of doctrine, you will be hard pressed to argue there is more convergence than divergence. You will find that many, whom you would probably acknowledge as a spiritual father (even men of the Reformation such as Luther and Calvin), had ideas that would violently clash with your own neat little package of orthodoxy today.
Quote:
If you find it to be overly influenced by Greek rationalism and further polluted by the developments of western rationalism then we have no traditional basis to understand ANY doctrine.
No, again, this is not a valid conclusion. What you are really saying is that from your perspective of rationalism, there is "no traditional basis to understand ANY doctrine." I saying there is if you are willing to set aside some of your rationalist presuppositions.
Quote:
If that is the case then I think you will have to show from your ontology how anything orthodox is true and valid.
Again, we are poles apart. I really don't think this has to do with being and reality as much as with our knowing and understanding. (Aside: I prefer staying away from philosophical terms, although I catch myself throwing out one upon occasion, because of the accumulated semantical baggage; I prefer a "plain language philosophy" approach.)
Quote:
I just don't think you should expect many people to go along with you while you doing that!
And you are perfectly correct. Most people, even educated folks, are comfortable with the ideas that they were taught. Most folks accept ideas from an authority with questioning or thinking. My experience is that many less educated people have curious, inquiring minds that question and think through ideas.
Quote:
Our simplistic western rationalistic mindset has worked for nearly 2000 years as the Church has proclaimed the Gospel and taught orthodoxy.
Well, it depends upon what you mean by "worked." It seems to me that the system has generated much more error than truth.
Quote:
As soon as you start trumping reasonable thought submitted to the scriptures with piety you are in a swamp.
Well, you need to be a little more specific about what you mean by a "swamp." If you mean that I don't have a system that is completely coherent without contradiction or holes or unanswered questions, then you are correct. In fact, I hardly have a system at all. BTW, no other system meets these criteria either. On the other hand, if you are saying that I know nothing or cannot believe with certainty, then you are in error.
Quote:
If the Holy Spirit has mystically convinced you that the KJV is the perfect preservation for all English speaking peoples what do you say when others say that the Holy Spirit has mystically told them that the NASB, NIV, ESV, HCSB, NET or anything else it THE one?
You are skewing the question to preclude a specific answer that you desire. I have never said this. I will say that the Believing Church has accepted the KJV as the Word of God for almost four hundred years. Can you deny that? Furthermore, anyone claiming the NASB, NIV, etc. as the translation for English-speaking people is simply a hypothetical situation. Can you name you name anyone who is seriously taking this approach?
Quote:
Then we are back to considering the evidence and the scriptures no where teach that any people will have a completely perfect (to the exclusion of all others) translation of the fixed Word of God. And Aaron has laid this all out well in this series.
  1. There are those(e.g. the writers of TSKT), who believe the Bible and carefully exegete its passages, that disagree with you. These are not ignorant men by any means and they are part of the orthodox Believing Church. So, the difference is not one of orthodoxy-heresy but it is much like the differences of Baptists-Presbyterians-Methodists over the mode of baptism. Now, don't tell me that my doctrine of believers baptism by immersion is not Biblical. So, I object to Aaron saying that preservation is not a Biblical doctrine. The problem is that he is in effect denigrating or downgrading his opponents' arguments by this stratagem.
  2. Again, the question is whether it must be stated explicitly or can valid inferences and conclusions can be used? Do you deny that inferences and conclusions are used in formulating other Biblical doctrines?
  3. Finally, Aaron refuses to address the issue of canonization. His analysis is incomplete and lacking. In canonization, we see something of a process that God used to preserve His Word after the initial inspiration. Thus, we have a reasonable explanation for the preservation of God's Word down to the present.

Making progress?

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Roland, the reason I asked if you deny that the Bible teaches inerrancy and infallibility is because you made this statement...
RPittman wrote:
you cannot support ideas that you call doctrine (e.g. inerrancy, infallibility, etc.) under the same criteria and conditions

The "criteria and conditions" I use are, simply put, does the Bible state the doctrine directly or strongly imply it. I'm not even saying "necessarily imply" it, which is a standard I think most people would accept for legitimate "biblical doctrine."
Since the Bible does strongly imply (I would say "necessarily imply") inerrancy/infallibility, it does in fact qualify as "biblical doctrine" by the same process I've used in developing the preservation doctrine I presented.
Then, the preservationist argument can be legitimately called Biblical doctrine if implied by Scriptural teachings on preservation. Right?
Quote:

In short, my aim is to include everything in the doctrine that the Bible states directly or strongly implies. In the articles I presented arguments that showed the Bible does state it is preserved forever. I presented evidence that it strongly implies availably to at least some of God's people "until all is fulfilled." However, I also pointed out that the biblical evidence does not state or strongly imply some particulars: every word (identified for certain), wide accessibility, the form of a text that is known to be word perfect. These particulars of the PTP view are not stated or strongly implied and therefore are not "biblical doctrine."

Aaron, as you well know, inferences and implied meanings are very subjective matters. The writers of TSKT obviously do believe that the texts on preservation imply or give valid inference to the PTP view. So, your argument is NOT based on a clear teaching of Scripture but it a matter of interpretation as to inferences and implied meanings. Given this standing, if you agree, it is wrong to declare PTP is heresy as many are prone to do nowadays. My primary contention here is that you are using the denial of "Biblical doctrine" status to enhance your position. The PTP are basing their beliefs on Scripture although you disagree with their interpretation. What it boils down to is how you and the PTP folks interpret the texts. They see valid inferences and implied meanings that you deny. Thus, both of you are debating from Scripture.
Quote:

Now, of course, a person may take what is revealed about preservation and apply it in the form of a conviction that we have every word preserved perfectly in this text or that. But an application is not Bible doctrine, it is application of Bible doctrine. Applications are very human things. Doctrine is revealed.
I have no problem at all with folks saying "It is my belief that MT and TR are the word perfect preserved texts based on the teaching of Scripture that God preserves His word (etc) plus my understanding of the history of assembled texts, and other evidence." However, the "plus" part goes external to Scripture and puts that position outside the scope of "biblical doctrine" and off the list of things that are appropriate tests of orthodoxy.
This, may PTPers are not willing to do. And they are doing wrong to identify "word perfect text" as the biblical doctrine of preservation.

What are the requirements of a "word perfect text?"
Quote:

Quote:
However, we disagree on how it is derived. One is rationalistic (what I can understand through reason) and the other is a more open, although reasonable, approach of faith and leading of the Holy Spirit. The working of the Holy Spirit is beyond our comprehension. However, the Scriptures teach it and I believe it.

Do you have any consistent method for identifying this kind of teaching? Any way of persuading others that it is correct? Is there any way of putting it in the form of argument? Or is it an intuitive "I feel this is what it means even though it doesn't say that" kind of thing? If it's the latter, we have nothing more to talk about. If another person does not feel the same thing you feel is true, there is no way to persuade them you are right. That sort of epistemology puts your conclusion completely outside the realm of inquiry.
All anybody can say is, I don't feel what you feel.
Aaron, you're asking a lot. To answer this would be a matter of writing a book or books. Also, I am not very keen on systems because every system is fallible and breaks down at certain points. I follow a more eclectic approach. You should be able to bridge many of the gaps in arguments because this is pretty general knowledge. Some of my arguments in debunking Modernism can be found with Foucault, Derrida, Rorty, Fish, et. al. I simply don't have the time and wherewithal to fill in the background. If you want to know where I am thinking in a positive direction, see some of D. A. Carson's ideas on a response to Post-Modernism. Now, I do have a broad general outline that I plan to share on SI whenever I can find a couple of hours to sit and compose. Also, your preceding statements are inaccurate because you are seeing only relativism as the alternative. That's not true. I believe, like D. A. Carson, that we can know with certitude but we cannot know exhaustively.
Quote:

RPittman wrote:
BTW, one of the problems is that I have not seen where you have defined "an accessible word-perfect text." What do you mean by this? What are the precise requirements?
Well, I think it's clear enough for the purposes I used the term for. A text is a complete OT or NT in its original language. Accessible means lots of people can get to it and read it. Since I use the expression to describe the PTP view, what it means depends to a degree on what they mean. But exactly how widely accessible it would have to be in their view, I'm not sure. Didn't see that spelled out anywhere.
"Word perfect" just means word perfect: all the same words God originally inspired. In TSKT they even assert a few times that all the letters and Hebrew vowel points are preserved.
Does this relates to the KJV or to the Greek and Hebrew only? Does "word perfect" mean a specific word or the word that God intended to express His intended meaning?
Quote:

Examples of "texts" would be MT, BHS for Old Testament and TR, Majority/Byzantine, and NA27 for the New Testament (technically you have a couple of TR texts to choose from and of course, a few different editions of NA as well as the old Westcott-Hort... there are lots of texts).

RPittman wrote:
You still do not seem to have grasped that you are interpreting thing according to your own epistemological construct. It seems that you cannot grasp that others operate outside your paradigm and do not share your methods. Therefore, you arguments are nonsense to them.

Roland, tell me what your paradigm is and how it works and I'll see if I can give it a go. I'll try almost anything once.
I've been clear about what my epistemology is, what sort of thought process I use. So folks can decide they find it persuasive or not. But you have yet to tell us how you arrive at your conclusions so we can decide if they are persuasive.

Let's suppose for a moment that I am eager to think according to your paradigm. I'm a zealous disciple who wants to learn. Teach me how to arrive at conclusions the way you do.
I actually am extremely curious, since you've been referring vaguely to this Other Way for months. Could you either explain it or stop referring to it? I don't think that's too much to ask.

So, if I try to explain, how are you going to judge my ideas? According to your paradigm? Aaron, this is a big task to develop or explain a different paradigm as I have already noted. I suggest that you read some of the aforementioned men' works.

Also, here's a quote: "A man persuaded against his will is of the same opinion still."

Aaron, you're going to have to develop some skepticism about Modernism before you are ready to follow me down this path. Read the guys that I suggested. Also, I suggest that you read Kevin Vanhoosier. I don't endorse any of these guys but they'll broaden your perspective.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Post-modernist and I am NOT leaning toward Post-modernism. I use their arguments to debunk and counter the rationalism that Fundamentalism has absorbed from Greek humanism, the Enlightenment, and Modernism. What I propose does not lead to relativism or mysticism. I hold to a simple, reasonable faith in the Scriptures according to plain, ordinary, literal understanding and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

"I hardly have a system…"

So, let me get this straight. You don't really have a system that you can explain to anyone (despite frequent requests); you want US to throw out all the traditional way to work with scripture and formulate understanding; and you want to push the inference that the KJV is the only Bible for english-speakers while simultaneously questioning if we really even have the perfectly preserved Bible at all.
Well, in OUR system of understanding one can make inferences like the Trinity and one can even make up extra-biblical terms like triune and hypostatic to codify the inferences that everyone has agreed on as orthodox. This whole debate is about trying to push the inference that any preservation has to be particular preservation. Similarly people have tried to push the biblical data to say that the only orthodox position on soteriology is THEIR view of soteriology whether Arminian or Calvinist. Now what Aaron has said, and I have said is that there is room in orthodoxy for particular preservationism but that you have to recognize that it is not the ONLY position. Those of us who are general preservationists still believe in preservation. Furthermore I am very concerned about particular preservationism because, just as this series has shown, it takes up a lot of time and generates a lot of "Hath God said…" arguments! I have no questions in my mind (or heart!) about what the Word of God teaches and I am convinced that I can hold in my hands everything I need for life and for Godliness. Some of those books may be better and clearer and some may be poorer (or "meaner" as the KJV translators called them) but they all are the Word of God. To my hide bound, rationalistic, modern way of thinking the only really consistent inference is that the Holy Spirit inspired the KJV translators and we no longer need to even reference the original languages.
Mr. Pittman, at the end of the day you are demanding that a supermajority of orthodox christians bow to the inferences about *how* God preserves His Word that are held by a minority. In 2500 years there have been three particular preservationist movements: The Septuagint, the Vulgate and the KJV. They all share the same arguments and ideas. They all function on the same paradigm. Are you willing to believe or has the Spirit showed you that those other 2 translations are perfect too? I don't think even the orthodox Jews or the Romanists who are descended from those who held those positions still hold them. If the Lord tarried another 200 years will your view still hold up as modern english moves farther away from Elizabethan english? What are the inferences of the KJV position for all the other thousands of people groups in the world? How can they know when they have a perfect translation? How can they know if the one they have is imperfect? The swamp that I referred to is where the Spirit has showed you something He hasn't seen fit to show me or Aaron. So we are having this conversation and we are showing you that your inferences are unfounded and unnecessary according to scripture. But you can blow us off and you don't have to submit to anything that anyone other than you can show because the Spirit showed you! That is a swamp: muddy, hard to move through, difficult to navigate and inhospitable. Your position is attractive to me. I would love for every person in the english speaking world to have one Bible. It would simplify things and make it easier to learn and quote scripture and to deal with difficult translation issues. But it has never and will never happen! We have to submit to the historical fact that there have always been multiple MSS and multiple translations and struggles with understanding multiple passages. We have to preach what is clear: the Gospel! We can struggle with all the difficulties but we cannot call into question that God has preserved His Word for all people of all time everywhere.

Jon Bell
Bucksport, ME
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and

strongly implies... paradigms etc

In a rush this AM...
wanted to resond to this:

Quote:
Then, the preservationist argument can be legitimately called Biblical doctrine if implied by Scriptural teachings on preservation. Right?

With one qualifier, yes. I want to say "strongly implies." The historical sola scriptura standard is more demanding I think: "necessarily implies."
But I would be willing to grant the PTP view the respect of being in the biblical doctrine category if it were strongly implied by Scripture. Unless there was a contrary position that also seems to be strongly implied, I'd probably embrace it.
But in the articles have pointed out that Scripture does not strongly imply the conclusions PTP requires (in face, it does not usually even offer what can be taken as a hint at those particulars).
Quote:
Aaron, this is a big task to develop or explain a different paradigm as I have already noted. I suggest that you read some of the aforementioned men' works.

Roland, I respectfully suggest this is a dodge. I can explain my paradigm without recourse to "go read a bunch of authors." If you are going to
a. insist I have a particular paradigm, and
b. assert that the paradigm is faulty
you're not going to persuade anybody if you don't demonstrate what my paradigm is and why it is fault and what would be better.

Jon Bell wrote: .... Your

Jon Bell wrote:
....
Your position is attractive to me. I would love for every person in the english speaking world to have one Bible. It would simplify things and make it easier to learn and quote scripture and to deal with difficult translation issues. But it has never and will never happen! We have to submit to the historical fact that there have always been multiple MSS and multiple translations and struggles with understanding multiple passages. We have to preach what is clear: the Gospel! We can struggle with all the difficulties but we cannot call into question that God has preserved His Word for all people of all time everywhere.
Thanks, Jon, for your last post. You have well-stated what a lot of us are thinking.

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

Totally misconstrued reading............

Jon Bell wrote:
So, let me get this straight. You don't really have a system that you can explain to anyone (despite frequent requests); you want US to throw out all the traditional way to work with scripture and formulate understanding; and you want to push the inference that the KJV is the only Bible for english-speakers while simultaneously questioning if we really even have the perfectly preserved Bible at all.
Well, in OUR system of understanding one can make inferences like the Trinity and one can even make up extra-biblical terms like triune and hypostatic to codify the inferences that everyone has agreed on as orthodox. This whole debate is about trying to push the inference that any preservation has to be particular preservation. Similarly people have tried to push the biblical data to say that the only orthodox position on soteriology is THEIR view of soteriology whether Arminian or Calvinist. Now what Aaron has said, and I have said is that there is room in orthodoxy for particular preservationism but that you have to recognize that it is not the ONLY position. Those of us who are general preservationists still believe in preservation. Furthermore I am very concerned about particular preservationism because, just as this series has shown, it takes up a lot of time and generates a lot of "Hath God said…" arguments! I have no questions in my mind (or heart!) about what the Word of God teaches and I am convinced that I can hold in my hands everything I need for life and for Godliness. Some of those books may be better and clearer and some may be poorer (or "meaner" as the KJV translators called them) but they all are the Word of God. To my hide bound, rationalistic, modern way of thinking the only really consistent inference is that the Holy Spirit inspired the KJV translators and we no longer need to even reference the original languages.
Mr. Pittman, at the end of the day you are demanding that a supermajority of orthodox christians bow to the inferences about *how* God preserves His Word that are held by a minority. In 2500 years there have been three particular preservationist movements: The Septuagint, the Vulgate and the KJV. They all share the same arguments and ideas. They all function on the same paradigm. Are you willing to believe or has the Spirit showed you that those other 2 translations are perfect too? I don't think even the orthodox Jews or the Romanists who are descended from those who held those positions still hold them. If the Lord tarried another 200 years will your view still hold up as modern english moves farther away from Elizabethan english? What are the inferences of the KJV position for all the other thousands of people groups in the world? How can they know when they have a perfect translation? How can they know if the one they have is imperfect? The swamp that I referred to is where the Spirit has showed you something He hasn't seen fit to show me or Aaron. So we are having this conversation and we are showing you that your inferences are unfounded and unnecessary according to scripture. But you can blow us off and you don't have to submit to anything that anyone other than you can show because the Spirit showed you! That is a swamp: muddy, hard to move through, difficult to navigate and inhospitable. Your position is attractive to me. I would love for every person in the english speaking world to have one Bible. It would simplify things and make it easier to learn and quote scripture and to deal with difficult translation issues. But it has never and will never happen! We have to submit to the historical fact that there have always been multiple MSS and multiple translations and struggles with understanding multiple passages. We have to preach what is clear: the Gospel! We can struggle with all the difficulties but we cannot call into question that God has preserved His Word for all people of all time everywhere.
Without being too smirky, NO, I don't have a system, although I wish you had gotten my intended meaning straight, but I do think your post could be improved by organization and systematization. Smile By a system, I mean a single vehicle for fitting everything into a comprehensive, non-contradictory reality. No system works. Modernistic rationalism is impotent and defunct in giving us irrefutable truth. In fact, the idea of a system is an integral part of a rationalistic viewpoint in that all reality can be understood through reason and fitted into a system. In other words, Modernism depends on a systematic methodology that supposedly gives truth. Modernism (i.e. rationalism) by nature must systematize. I even have some reservations about systematic theology (see http://blakehuggins.com/2009/06/16/my-suspicisions-about-systematic-theo...). But, it is futile to think that we can delineate and categorize everything into a systematic, comprehensive, non-contradictory whole. Systems are man-made and fallible. Now, the problem comes, I think, in how we are using the word system. My use of system referred to what the preceding sentences describe; you, I think, had a looser definition of an orderly approach to understanding. Yes, I do have some guiding principles about what we know and can know based on Scripture.

  1. God has revealed some things unto us (Deuteronomy 29:29), which are sufficient unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), life, and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), but God has reserved some things unto Himself (Deuteronomy 29:29).
  2. God's revelation is open, accessible (2 Peter 1:19-21) and available to man subsequent to His revealing act in the form of written Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15).
  3. Understanding of Scripture is not attained by reason and scholarship alone (1 Corinthians 2:14) but faith and understanding is brought through the interaction of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:17; 1 John 2:27) with the spirit of man through the reading, teaching, and preaching of Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)
  4. The Holy Spirit plays an essential role in one coming to faith in Christ (John 6:44-45) and the subsequent understanding of knowledge and truth (John 14:25 compare with 1 Peter 1:22; John 16:7-13; 1 John 2:27)
  5. The question of knowing and certainty is addressed by the whole epistle of 1 John (cf. 1 John 4:6; 1 John 5:20)

Jon, I do not intend to be overly critical or personal but I cannot answer all the things that you are throwing at me because of the way you have misconstrued my assertions and read into them. Furthermore, the organization, or lack thereof, make it extremely difficulty to follow the flow of thought and answer specific points. In addition, your use of the swamp metaphor is misleading. We are not lost in a morass of contradicting ideas although there are many opinions and viewpoints among professing Christians. As I have repeatedly said, "We can know with certainty but we cannot know exhaustively." Although we cannot explain the precise process, we can read the Scriptures and know with certainty the intended meaning through reason, faith, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Jon, I have been accused of being arrogant but I don't intend to be. I have no corner on truth and I am not smarter or more intellectual than anyone else. In fact, my memory and cognitive processes are deteriorating with age and certain physical conditions. It is just that I have spent over fifty years thinking through these things and found that the old pabulum doesn't satisfy anymore. I don't know if you have thought through a few basic premises or not. Rather than trying to refute every simple assertion that I make, would you define your own view on some basic questions and we can reason from there?

  1. Can the Scriptures be understood through reason and scholarship alone?
  2. Does faith play a role in our understanding of Scripture?
  3. Does the indwelling Holy Spirit play a role in the understanding of Scripture?
  4. If faith and the Holy Spirit are factors in understanding God's revelation, what are their roles?
  5. In reference to the preceding question, how do you know?
  6. How do you know that the Bible's assertion that all Scripture is inspired of God is true?
  7. How do you know that the Bible in its present form is all inspired and all that is inspired?

The first three questions can be answered yes or no. The others demand some explanation. When you have posted your answers, I will post my own for your response. Please be direct and straightforward.

Splitting the difference.............

Aaron Blumer wrote:
In a rush this AM...
wanted to resond to this:
Quote:
Then, the preservationist argument can be legitimately called Biblical doctrine if implied by Scriptural teachings on preservation. Right?

With one qualifier, yes. I want to say "strongly implies." The historical sola scriptura standard is more demanding I think: "necessarily implies."
But I would be willing to grant the PTP view the respect of being in the biblical doctrine category if it were strongly implied by Scripture. Unless there was a contrary position that also seems to be strongly implied, I'd probably embrace it.
But in the articles have pointed out that Scripture does not strongly imply the conclusions PTP requires (in face, it does not usually even offer what can be taken as a hint at those particulars).
Aaron, I respect the fact that you have other things demanding your attention. However, it appears to me that we have come down to the basic contention whether the Scriptures under consideration imply or strongly imply Scriptural preservation and the inferences of PTP. It boils down to two conflicting opinions of what either side understands is implied or not implied. This, I suggest, is a very narrow basis for denying the preservationist equal status, although not necessarily agreement, with your series and position.
Quote:

Quote:
Aaron, this is a big task to develop or explain a different paradigm as I have already noted. I suggest that you read some of the aforementioned men' works.

Roland, I respectfully suggest this is a dodge. I can explain my paradigm without recourse to "go read a bunch of authors." If you are going to
a. insist I have a particular paradigm, and
b. assert that the paradigm is faulty
you're not going to persuade anybody if you don't demonstrate what my paradigm is and why it is fault and what would be better.
Aaron, this is not a dodge. You are judging my motives by appearances. If I write quickly and off-the-cuff, holes and gaps will be left that result in an out-of-hand rejection of everything, even what may be cogent and valid. One of my problems is that folks are unfamiliar with ideas that I assume are generally known. To make cogent and reasoned argument, I must fill in the background and explain these ideas. In other words, I must make all my arguments from scratch--there are no instant mixes. If you can't understand this, then you are missing something fundamental. Furthermore, I am not interested in discussing and hearing comment on pertinent ideas that Fundamentalists often gloss or ignore. I am not seeking a confrontational role but a cooperative exchange of give and take with refinement and development of my own thinking. So, the standard arguments learned in seminary or culled from college notes don't interest me.

BTW, I have been working on some very short things that respond pointedly to (a). As for (b), I have repeatedly made points about the bankruptcy of Modernism and its epistemology but you have not addressed the points. I can give you a broad, general outline but you're going to ask for references, proof, etc. Like Francis Schaeffer, who gave little formal reference and depended on his readers being knowledgeable to make the leaps that he made, the sense of my arguments depend upon your familiarity with the arguments, ideas, concepts, positions and thinking of the men whom I earlier referenced. Also, I assume a good grasp of Modernism, Post-Modernism, and Pre-Modern thought to follow the flow of my reasoning. My frustration is that it is rather like pulling a train of boxcars only to find that cars are continually unhitching and being sidetracked. I never reach my destination with a train of cargo.

Dodges

Mr. Pittman: You have more dodges than the Chrysler dealer down the street. No one is misjudging you. You have established a quite voluminous record of dodging direct and simple questions.
I still keep shaking my head that you are trying to overturn and impugn 2000 years of reasoning that underpins our theology in order to prove that we should use an antiquated translation made by Anglicans to push their ecclesiology based on a manuscript that was critically edited by the Roman magisterium!

Jon Bell
Bucksport, ME
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and

Quote: Aaron, I respect the

Quote:
Aaron, I respect the fact that you have other things demanding your attention. However, it appears to me that we have come down to the basic contention whether the Scriptures under consideration imply or strongly imply Scriptural preservation and the inferences of PTP. It boils down to two conflicting opinions of what either side understands is implied or not implied. This, I suggest, is a very narrow basis for denying the preservationist equal status, although not necessarily agreement, with your series and position.

No, it's not a small thing at all. If we believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for doctrine, then Scripture must at least strongly imply anything we identify as biblical doctrine. That's an absolute minimum and probably a bit too loose. "Necessarily implies" would be better. I cannot give what the Bible does not say equal status with what it does.

Just as well left unsaid.................

Jon Bell wrote:
Mr. Pittman: You have more dodges than the Chrysler dealer down the street. No one is misjudging you. You have established a quite voluminous record of dodging direct and simple questions.
I still keep shaking my head that you are trying to overturn and impugn 2000 years of reasoning that underpins our theology in order to prove that we should use an antiquated translation made by Anglicans to push their ecclesiology based on a manuscript that was critically edited by the Roman magisterium!
Jon, this says nothing. Whereas you accuse me of dodges, and I'm not quite sure what your specific reference is, you have ignored the straightforward questions that I asked of you. Now, who is dodging (ignoring) the issues? I believe there is a word for condemning in another what one does himself......it's........uh......uh..........help me out here.................

Granting fairness............

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Quote:
Aaron, I respect the fact that you have other things demanding your attention. However, it appears to me that we have come down to the basic contention whether the Scriptures under consideration imply or strongly imply Scriptural preservation and the inferences of PTP. It boils down to two conflicting opinions of what either side understands is implied or not implied. This, I suggest, is a very narrow basis for denying the preservationist equal status, although not necessarily agreement, with your series and position.

No, it's not a small thing at all. If we believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for doctrine, then Scripture must at least strongly imply anything we identify as biblical doctrine. That's an absolute minimum and probably a bit too loose. "Necessarily implies" would be better. I cannot give what the Bible does not say equal status with what it does.

At least grant it equal, although disputed, status with your own closely held doctrines that hinge upon inference, implied meaning, and nuance of interpretation. Would not that be fairness?

Dear Jon....................................

Jon Bell wrote:
Mr. Pittman: You have more dodges than the Chrysler dealer down the street. No one is misjudging you. You have established a quite voluminous record of dodging direct and simple questions.
I still keep shaking my head that you are trying to overturn and impugn 2000 years of reasoning that underpins our theology in order to prove that we should use an antiquated translation made by Anglicans to push their ecclesiology based on a manuscript that was critically edited by the Roman magisterium!
Although I'm somewhat exasperated by the inanity of this post, I'll play along even though my better judgement says ignore and go to bed. First, allow me a few observations:

  1. I have not answered some questions because they are too broad and generalized for a precise answer
  2. I have not answered some questions because the answers are simply too big, too complex, and too long for this forum.
  3. I have not answered some questions because they are loaded (i.e. prejudicial).
  4. I have agreed to post some ideas when I have time to thoughtfully formulate them.
  5. You are wrong in saying that I am "trying to overturn and impugn 2000 years of reasoning that underpins our theology." It has not been the same reasoning for 2000 years.
  6. The rest of your post is an emotional tirade so generalized that it is patently false.
  7. I've given you answers that you ignored or brushed aside. You seem willingly to accept what I say when I say what you want to hear. You've tried to corner me into saying what you want me to say but it hasn't worked and you're frustrated.

Now, what question do you want me to answer? Give me a legitimate, delimited (not too broad) question and I'll answer it. Would you please reciprocate by answering the questions my earlier post to you? My questions were an effort to clarify, trim back the shrubbery, and get to the root of the matter.

These are not equivalent

Quote:
At least grant it equal, although disputed, status with your own closely held doctrines that hinge upon inference, implied meaning, and nuance of interpretation. Would not that be fairness?
All inferences are not created equal. There are valid inferences and invalid inferences. There are necessary inferences and optional inferences. I do not base any of what I call biblical doctrine on optional or invalid inferences if I can help it.
In the case of the relevant doctrines here, what I have taught on preservation is not based on inferences at all, just going down the road as far as the Scriptures speak and that point saying Scripture says no more so the biblical doctrine road ends here. The PTP view is a case of adding additional features beyond what is written. But the point of departure on the road is where inferences begin. The rest, as I have pointed out, is a matter of clear statements that God preserves and He ensures sufficient access for our faith and obedience.


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