Modern Scientific Textual Criticism - Bound or Independent

In 1558 William Whitaker, a master apologist for the truth of sola Scriptrua, wrote his comprehensive apology against the Roman Catholic dogma of Bellarmine and Stapleton on the topic of Holy Scripture - Disputations on Holy Scripture. Under the First Controversy and the Sixth question Whitaker writes concerning the necessity of Scripture,

"For if in civil affairs men cannot be left to themselves, but must be governed and retained in their duty by certain laws; much less should we be independent in divine things, and not rather bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule, lest we fall into a will-worship hateful to God." [523]

So for this brief post, here is the question, to those whose trust rests in the quality and certainty of modern scientific textual criticism [MSTC], in what way is MSTC "bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule" seeing that Holy Scripture falls most conspicuously under the category of "divine things"?

I maintain that MSTC is not bound but rather is a "will-worship hateful to God." For the nay-sayer, I concur that a form of textual criticism was in practice before the likes of MSTC, but that form was not of the same genus. Not of the same genus in that pre-Enlightenment textual criticism was subject to the leading of the Holy Ghost as manifested in the spirit-filled believing community of the time, whereas MSTC is subject to the scientific deductions of select scholarly board. For those perhaps a bit confused on this point, here is a slice of Theology 101. Where the Holy Spirit is leading the word of God is also present, and where the word of God is present so also is the leading of the Holy Spirit. MSTC pretends no such thing. You need not look any further than the several prefaces to the various editions of the leading Greek NT's on the market today. The goal of the MSTC scientific exercise is not for certainty, truth, or doxology, but for scientific worship of their own wills by oppressing the church with their findings and declaring all others uneducated, ignorant, and old-fashioned. So I conclude, where the Spirit of God is leading, the word of God accompanies that leading, thus pre-Enlightenment textual criticism is not of the same genus as MSTC, and should not be considered as such.

For those who seek to position MSTC with in the limits of the "prescribed and certain rule" [i.e. Holy Scripture], know that if you cannot, then you are in danger of condoning, supporting, and advancing a "will-worship hateful to God." Why is it will-worship? Because MSTC's goal is professedly not that of God's will but of a never-ending scientific endeavor governed by the limitations of human cognition to locate God's words. [i.e. men worshipping their own will to decide certain content qualities of divine revelation] Why is it hateful to God? A willful act not subject to the will of God is what brought us sin and the fall of man. Thus, MSTC is nothing more than an present day extension of that god-overthrowing will evidenced by our first parents.

The purpose of this post is to sharpen the iron of the supporters of the MSTC, by challenging them to locate MSTC in the greater exegetical and historical tapestry of Bibliology and if they cannot, to abandon MSTC as a system suitable for the work of Christ's Kingdom.

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Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

A couple months ago my Dad was benching 370 lbs and tore his rotator cuff. Just yesterday he had it repaired. As a result I will be helping him get around for the next few days. I hope to respond Thursday or Friday.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Take your time. Sorry to hear about your dad. Benching 370 pounds would kill me!

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

"For since nothing false can be an object of faith, how could the Scriptures be held as authentic (Mine: authoritative) and reckoned divine if liable to contradictions and corruptions? Nor can it be said that these corruptions are only in smaller things which do not affect the foundation of faith (Mine: You, Brother Blumer, would insert "doctrine" here)...if corruption is admitted in those of lesser importance, why not in others of greater?" Vol. 1 p. 71

This quote from Turretin is found under the Fifth Question of the Second Topic. The question reads, "Do real contradictions occur in Scripture? Or are there any inexplicable (alyta) passages which cannot be explained and made to harmonize? We deny." (p. 70)

On the following page Turretin offers the "Statement of the question." It reads is this manner, "[T ]he question is whether they [Mine: mss ] so differ as to make the genuine corrupt and to hinder us from receiving the original text as the rule of faith and practice." (p. 71)

Turretin goes on to admit the "negligence of copyists or printers" and that "all acknowledge the existence of many such small corruptions." He then goes on to say, "The question is whether there are universal corruptions and errors so diffused through all the copies (both mss and edited) as that they cannot be restored and corrected by any collation of various copies, or of Scripture itself and of parallel passages." (p. 71)

Now Turretin is going to transition from “small corruptions” to a treatment of unimpaired integrity of the words of Scripture. He is able to do this because there is no corruption in mss evidence that cannot be restored and corrected. Three things here: First, W&H clearly stated that all we have ever had was an approximately pure text and that is all we will ever have for the foreseeable future, therefore Scripture will not be restored. Second, MSTC of the last 100 or so years has already yielded that Scripture cannot be restored beyond an approximation to the autographa given the methods used. Third, historic Bibliology held that Scripture had been restored not approximately but completely. It is from this foundation that a discussion of purity and unimpaired integrity spring from. So then Turretin concludes, “Therefore the foundation of the purity and integrity of the sources is not to be placed in the freedom from fault by men but in the providence of God...which always diligently took care to correct them.” (Turretin, p. 73)

Now two paragraphs down from this point you encounter the quote at the top of this post. Said paragraph begins with these words, "Unless unimpaired integrity characterize the Scriptures, they could not be regarded as the sole rule of faith and practice." (p. 71)

1.) The above quote concerns Scripture not the treatment of Scripture by people.
2.) Unimpaired integrity characterizes the Scriptures and if not then it cannot be the sole rule of faith.
3.) Integrity (integritas) as used by Turretin in the Latin means, "integrity, soundness of health in body and soul, purity, uprightness." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 156)
4.) You have said on at least two occasions that we need to separated what you call "the way we would like it to be vs. the way it is" and in both instances you have admitted that the integrity of Scripture is impaired.

Using your definition of character, "the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing" we should conclude that Scripture cannot be the rule of faith unless it is characterized by unimpaired integrity/purity.

Now on to the historical understanding of purity of God's words, as a fire-tried metal. Consider for a moment Psalm 12:6 which reads, "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Note the metallurgical reference again with "silver tried in a furnace of earth."

Concerning this particular verse Hoornbeeck as part of response to the Arminians, Episcopius and Grotius as well as to the Socinus who "argue levels of truth and authority in the text of Scripture," writes concerning Ps 12:6 that "'For the whole of Scripture to be pure, perfect, and divine, it is necessary that it be without error.'" then adds that "the purity of Scripture is affirmed throughout [the Scriptures ]." (Muller, Post-Reformed, p. 307) So it is the historical position to hold that the purity of Scripture derived from using a metallurgical analogy is in reference to the whole of Scripture being free from error even in "trifling" matters as you will see in the next paragraph.

Hoornbeeck goes on to say "there is nothing in Scripture that is 'trifling and of not importance,' as Socinus claimed."(Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 307) My point here is, to argue the line that "there is no doctrine (i.e. important stuff as oppose to not so important or trifling stuff) at stake" while you allow for the impaired integrity of Scripture is a line straight from the playbook of Socinus the "founder" of the Socinians who were heretic opponents of orthodoxy.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Peter wrote:

1.) The above quote concerns Scripture not the treatment of Scripture by people.
2.) Unimpaired integrity characterizes the Scriptures and if not then it cannot be the sole rule of faith.
3.) Integrity (integritas) as used by Turretin in the Latin means, "integrity, soundness of health in body and soul, purity, uprightness." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 156)
4.) You have said on at least two occasions that we need to separated what you call "the way we would like it to be vs. the way it is" and in both instances you have admitted that the integrity of Scripture is impaired.

On Turretin's view... (1) I don't have a copy, so I can't really verify that you've correctly described his claims and arguments
(2) I don't really care all that much. It's not like we can reduce the whole debate to "Turretin says so, therefore it must be true." Consequently, it's probably easiest to just grant for the sake of argument that Turretin believed the text he had was word-for-word identical to what God originally inspired.

The counterargument then is this:
(1) The Bible itself does not promise that any group of human beings will be able to maintain a word-perfect text from the conflicting MSS.
(2) If this view (allegedly Turretin's) is not revealed, it is arrived at by observation and reasoning.
(3) If it is arrived at by observation and reasoning, it may be refuted by observation and reasoning.
(4) Observation and reasoning tell us that even the traditional text has undergone revision and that--absent of any assurance from God that He will ensure preservation of a word perfect text--we cannot be sure any text we've put together is 100% accurate.

Regarding "you have admitted that the integrity of Scripture is impaired", I believe that would be your language, not mine. The Scriptures are settled forever in heaven. That's my view. Their integrity cannot be impaired. As for the copies, I would not characterize them as having impaired integrity either, uncertain readings notwithstanding.

Peter wrote:

Now on to the historical understanding of purity of God's words, as a fire-tried metal. Consider for a moment Psalm 12:6 which reads, "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Note the metallurgical reference again with "silver tried in a furnace of earth."

Concerning this particular verse Hoornbeeck as part of response to the Arminians, Episcopius and Grotius as well as to the Socinus who "argue levels of truth and authority in the text of Scripture," writes concerning Ps 12:6 that "'For the whole of Scripture to be pure, perfect, and divine, it is necessary that it be without error.'" then adds that "the purity of Scripture is affirmed throughout [the Scriptures ]." (Muller, Post-Reformed, p. 307) So it is the historical position to hold that the purity of Scripture derived from using a metallurgical analogy is in reference to the whole of Scripture being free from error even in "trifling" matters as you will see in the next paragraph.


None of this is in dispute. You're overworking the metallurgical angle, but regardless, all of us here believe in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

Peter wrote:
Hoornbeeck goes on to say "there is nothing in Scripture that is 'trifling and of not importance,' as Socinus claimed."(Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 307) My point here is, to argue the line that "there is no doctrine (i.e. important stuff as oppose to not so important or trifling stuff) at stake" while you allow for the impaired integrity of Scripture is a line straight from the playbook of Socinus the "founder" of the Socinians who were heretic opponents of orthodoxy.

Note the difference between these two statements:
- Everything the Scriptures reveal is important
- Everything the Scriptures reveal is equally important

The latter is not the historical position of Christians in any age. So, when we say that no doctrine is at stake in the conflicting manuscripts, we mean that nothing is taught in any of the disputed passages that is not taught elsewhere. One could argue that the woman caught in adultery (John 8.1-11) reveals an event that is not revealed elsewhere. This is true, but what the event teaches us is elsewhere.
Even with the manuscripts differing on this and other passages, the Scriptures as we have them remain authoritative, inerrant, true Word of God. As such, they are completely trustworthy in what they teach.

But let's remember something here: you're basically arguing that if we don't have every word with certainty, that means the Bible has no integrity and we're here in the dark with no reliable revelation. This is basically a results argument: "If you're right, that would be terrible, therefore you're wrong." The argument is obviously faulty if you break it down:

  • Premise: Terrible things don't happen.
  • Premise: If your view is true, that would be terrible.
  • Conclusion: Your view is false.

I grant neither the first nor the second premise. Some might grant you the second, but who could possibly grant the first? (Both are required to support the conclusion)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Peter wrote:
...For good measure let me quote from Hoornbeeck again, "'If the Holy Scriptures err in some things...our faith in Scripture can be neither certain nor divine." (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 307)

Again, nobody here believes the Scriptures err anywhere.

Peter wrote:
In sum, yes we know that no two MSS agree perfectly, but the Scripture itself and the collation of those MSS which resulted in the Masoretic Hebrew and TR has yielded a pure text, possessing unimpaired integrity.

You still haven't really explained how it's possible that the mere humans who are not able to make copies without errors are able to make texts without errors. Tossing around the word "self authenticating" doesn't magically solve the problem. If the words don't self authenticate when copies are being made, how do they self authenticate when texts are being made?

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
But when it is not entirely clear what God has said, we have a less confident faith.

Funny that you should say this. So are you "entirely clear" on the hypostatic union, that Jesus is all God and all man or that the He is one of three persons in the pericoretic nature of the Triune God?

Yes... except maybe for the "pericoretic" part. That's not a term I use.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
That's actually your position... that the Bible speaks of scribal/"believing community' perfection...

On the contrary, I speak of the believing community merely recognizing the perfect self-authenticating words of God by the leading of the perfect Holy Spirit. "Perfect" is not ascribed to the believing community but to the perfect words of God by the perfect leading of the Holy Spirit both are taught in Scripture.

Nice dodge, but Peter, there is no escaping the fact that in your view the believing community perfectly recognizes the self authenticating words. You may not be ascribing the quality of perfection to this community but you are attributing a perfectly executed activity to them.
The Bible does not teach that this community has this ability.

Peter wrote:
Brother Blumer's definition of "meanest":
"Mean" means common, ordinary or in some cases, of low quality.
In the historical context, what English “translations“ were in view?

Not relevant. The KJV translators' point is clear: translations with different words are still rightly called the Word of God and, as such, are trustworthy.

Peter wrote:
... Some people believe God did not give by inspiration 1 John 5:7. I believe in a God that did. So one God did and another did not...

So the person who believes Jesus gave an exception to the adulterous nature of divorce in Matt.19 and the person who believes Jesus did not, believe in two different Jesuses. I don't think many will buy your reasoning in this argument.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
How would "He" or "Christ" "self authenticate"?

No, it is self-authenticating. It is not an action it is a state of being. The action is done by the Holy Spirit leading God's people ...
This does not solve the problem. You've take this self authenticating "state of being" and isolated it. Then added an unrelated task of the Spirit guiding the people to know which words are right. This view lacks coherence. But in any case, it begs the question. How does the Spirit lead people to know whether "He" or "Christ" is correct? Do they get a warm feeling when they look at the right reading? Do they evaluate the readings by some criteria?

Peter wrote:
When a saint reads the word of God they are called by the Holy Spirit to receive it by faith without doubting any of it. So the believing community got to a point where they were reading the Geneva Bible and then the Bishops Bible came along. They held the Geneva to be the perfect word of God and gave the new comer a shot.

Why would they do that if they thought the Geneva was word perfect "by faith without doubting any of it"?

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Do you believe this word? The.

As it appears in God's word, Yes. Which one, you might say. My answer, all of them.

This is rabbit trail, but the silliness intrigues me. The word "the" does not affirm anything. The smallest unit of linguistic information that can be believed is a clause: something with a truth value. Have to have a subject and a predicate.

Peter wrote:
No you don't get it. Emanation in theology and philosophy is...

I get that lots of words have technical meanings in various places. It's pretty obvious that I was not using the word technically.
I also get that this has nothing at all to do with the traditional text question.

Peter wrote:
An idea can only be divinely pure as it is divinely given. If God did not give "He" then the idea drawn from it is not divine. To say the Bible reads "He" instead of “Christ” when the inspired word is “Christ” is to ascribe God's name to something God did not say which is a form of blasphemy.

You're mixing different things here. The question was whether it's possible to have conflicting readings in a couple of MSS and both give us the same meaning. It is possible.
As for attributing words to God that are not His... this is another reason why it isn't wise to claim that the traditional text is word perfect.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Peter,
I accidentally edited your post #244 instead of replying. I've moved my edit into a reply now, but there doesn't seem to be any way to put your post back the way it was.
You didn't save a copy in a text editor by any chance, did you?

Sorry about that. I'm going to blame it on the dog whining at me... (closest I can get to "my dog ate it")

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

JG's picture

but he and others are useful in demonstrating that the Warfield / Westcott / Hort / A.A. Hodge view of a pure text (and inspiration) as "limited only to the original manuscripts" was a new invention, and thus suspect. Even Warfield (at first) admitted he was redefining inspiration, though he stopped admitting it later.

The entire Scriptural emphasis is on the certainty, not uncertainty, of that which people held in their hand. Uncertainty about the true text is simply not found anywhere in Scripture. I can't find one verse that sounds at all like what modern theologians sound like when they talk "original autographs" and inspiration. Shouldn't that give us pause?

Our theological statements about Scripture don't sound like Scripture's statements about Scripture. That means we've gone wrong somewhere, no matter how we try to slice and dice it, no matter what our logic tells us. Jesus didn't say, "The Scripture cannot be broken, and by the way, that only applies to the original autographs." The whole assumption was that they had those unbreakable Scriptures in their hands to use as their authority.

II Timothy 3:16 was talking about what Timothy held in his hand, which was profitable to equip, and which he was supposed to preach (4:2). It wasn't an abstract theoretical statement about something that happened hundreds of years ago and might or might not guarantee the value of the Greek translation he used to preach in Ephesus. 4:2 just continues 3:16-17 -- some of the words are even the same. Warfield shifted the paradigm, and we need to shift it back and read 3:16 in context again.

Peter, writing to Greek speakers and readers, said they had a "sure word of prophecy" -- and they had a translation. Today, by contrast, we hear people saying everywhere that even the original language text we have isn't "sure". Something has gone far amiss. We posit uncertainty, whiile the Scriptures preach certainty. Our entire approach needs blown up.

As some already know, I could go on at length, but I'll stop. Smile You gentlemen have kept this thread rolling admirably without me, and will undoubtedly do so without further interventions on my behalf.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

JG wrote:
but he and others are useful in demonstrating that the Warfield / Westcott / Hort / A.A. Hodge view of a pure text (and inspiration) as "limited only to the original manuscripts" was a new invention, and thus suspect.

"Suspect" I can live with. It means it deserves to be carefully evaluated. But "suspect" does not equal "false."
I've been distancing myself somewhat from Westcott & Hort through this discussion, though, because I didn't personally arrive at my view of things by studying their view of things. For me, it's a process of elimination.

If the word-perfect traditional text view is (a) not taught in Scripture and (b) doesn't fit what we actually see, there must be a better view of the situation. It seems to me that as the question of the relationship between MSS and text (which, lets be fair, was not really in focus in Turretin's day) became more of an issue, conservative scholars reached a consensus for "autographa" pretty quickly. This is consistent with the pattern of development of theology through the ages.
A question previously not much considered becomes a major issue, then people committed to orthodoxy wrestle with details that were previously either taken for granted or never thought about. It's what theology has always had to do.

JG wrote:
Our theological statements about Scripture don't sound like Scripture's statements about Scripture. That means we've gone wrong somewhere, no matter how we try to slice and dice it...

I don't think it does. Our statements about the Trinity don't sound like Scripture's either.... nor baptism or any number of other topics. Theology is not restatement of Scripture, it is explanation of Scripture.

JG wrote:
Jesus didn't say, "The Scripture cannot be broken, and by the way, that only applies to the original autographs." The whole assumption was that they had those unbreakable Scriptures in their hands to use as their authority.

True. And this assumption ought to continue. As I've been arguing, there is no reason to doubt the unbreakableness of the Scriptures just because we face the MS issue honestly.
Likewise for 2 Tim.3.16 and 4:2. None of that is in dispute... and nobody I know of is saying "Let's start preaching that the word is uncertain." Rather, the conservative view is that the sure word of prophecy is still sure, but we're not going to pretend the MSS don't differ or that there's a group somewhere that has the ability to tell which MSS are correct and preserve a perfect text. The Bible doesn't teach this, so our "solution" needs to stick with revelation on both sides of the tension (the two sides being: Scripture's integrity and human beings' fallibility)

JG wrote:
Today, by contrast, we hear people saying everywhere that even the original language text we have isn't "sure". Something has gone far amiss.
This is exaggerated. The only place you hear this is when the subject of texts and MSS come up... which would come up a lot less if KJVO hadn't come along. I never even knew there were different manuscripts until I got to college, though, and that isn't right. As pastors, we don't want our flock to discover this for the first time from someone who is hostile to the faith.

The situation simply is not binary. We do not have to choose between total certainty of every word and nagging doubt about the sufficiency of our Bibles. To flip it around, we do not have to choose between nagging doubt about the sufficiency of our Bibles and concocting a doctrine of word-perfect traditional text.

(I think it's interesting that folks on that side of things keep ignoring the question of whether the traditional text itself has changed. It has. And several English translations preceded the KJV--each containing some different words than the ones before. If the people of that era had believed that 100% certainty of every word was required in order to have confidence in Scriptures, their faith would have collapsed whenever a new English Bible came out. As it is, the KJV translators took the reality of uncertain MS readings in stride and there was no massive doubt movement as KJV replaced the Geneva. The perfect traditional text narrative simply does not fit the history.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Stunica -> Erasmus -> Colinaeus -> Stephens -> Beza (1611) -> Elzivir -> Scrivener

Among these editions, you do not have a 100% word for word match. They are not all identical at the word level.
How many words have to be different before you have "less than 100% certainty of every word"? One. If even one word changes, you have a changing traditional text... and one edition is purer than another... and somebody had a version that was less than 100% pure (textually).

(The fact that there are differences among editions of the traditional text is documented even by the Trinitarian Bible Society, a group that is pro-TR and publishes TR based translations as their main thing. http://www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/articles/tr-art.pdf)

So even those who take a traditional text view are forced to take a non-binary position, if they deal with the facts. They have to say "the differences really don't effect meaning" and the like. Which sounds a whole lot like what I'm saying. So they end up having to separate word-for-word certainty from confidence in the unbreakableness of God's Word and sufficiency of the Bibles we have... just as I do.

(Edit: here's another very interesting document from TBS... http://www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/statement.pdf This group is an interesting mix. They favor traditional text but are not KJVO.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

JG's picture

I'd agree with that. I don't have to agree with Peter on everything to disagree with Warfield.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
"Suspect" I can live with. It means it deserves to be carefully evaluated. But "suspect" does not equal "false."

I chose the word carefully. Smile
Aaron Blumer wrote:

JG wrote:
Our theological statements about Scripture don't sound like Scripture's statements about Scripture. That means we've gone wrong somewhere, no matter how we try to slice and dice it...

I don't think it does. Our statements about the Trinity don't sound like Scripture's either.... nor baptism or any number of other topics. Theology is not restatement of Scripture, it is explanation of Scripture.

If theology's explanation has an emphasis contrary to the emphasis of Scripture, something is wrong.

To be honest, the tone of Peter's statements about the authority of Scripture matches the tone of Scriptural statements on the topic, and your tone doesn't. I understand the issue with which you are grappling. Nobody here thinks the issue isn't there. But when our explanation sounds like it is contrary to Scripture, we need to stop and think really, really hard.

Aaron Blumer wrote:

JG wrote:
Jesus didn't say, "The Scripture cannot be broken, and by the way, that only applies to the original autographs." The whole assumption was that they had those unbreakable Scriptures in their hands to use as their authority.

True. And this assumption ought to continue. As I've been arguing, there is no reason to doubt the unbreakableness of the Scriptures just because we face the MS issue honestly.

Name me one well-known conservative theologian (other than the Lord Jesus Christ) who doesn't attach "in the original autographs" to any statement of inerrancy. Find me the quotes by well-known theologians that leave that autograph disclaimer out. Jesus didn't say it, but we always do.

That autographal disclaimer is rubbish. We're wrongly focused on the piece of paper, rather than the words. Sloppy thinking -- the ink and paper aren't what matters. So I'll say it differently:

My Statement wrote:
God's words, all the words that He inspired, comprising the entirety of the Scriptures, are fully inerrant.

The end. Nothing more has to be said. We don't need autographal disclaimers, and we shouldn't use them. Inerrancy is NOT limited to the original autographs. It is inherent in God's words, no matter which pieces of paper or web sites or audio media record them.

Flawed manuscripts? It's covered, because I talked about words. An inaccurate copy is, of course, errant because the words aren't God's (this isn't hard :)). On the other hand, accurate apographa are as "inerrant" as autographa.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Likewise for 2 Tim.3.16 and 4:2. None of that is in dispute... and nobody I know of is saying "Let's start preaching that the word is uncertain."

Of course it is in dispute. How many people say, "Inspiration is limited to the original autographs?" Do you call the translation that Timothy preached from "inspired"? Paul did. Today's theologians won't, or they'll water it down with "derived inspiration". Paul just forgot to put "derived" in II Timothy 3:16? Really? We've taken Warfield's redefinition of inspiration as if it were itself inspired, and as a result we've robbed our Bible-in-hand of the authority Scripture gave it.

I sat in a very large IFB church (BJU circles, everyone here has heard of it) and heard the pastor tell his people that their Bible isn't inspired, because inspiration is limited to the original autographs. Everything in the Scriptures affirms the value and authority of Book-in-hand. We do the opposite.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
JG wrote:
Today, by contrast, we hear people saying everywhere that even the original language text we have isn't "sure". Something has gone far amiss.
This is exaggerated. The only place you hear this is when the subject of texts and MSS come up...

You hear it every time inerrancy is taught. Chicago statement, for instance. Inerrancy is limited to the original autographs. Everyone says so. You don't have an original autograph? Logic. You don't have an inerrant Bible.

We worship at the altar of "original autographs", something never mentioned in Scripture. It's silly. What was the original autograph of the Ten Commandments, the first copy or the second? Was the second copy a copy or an original autograph? Was it inspired or simply a case of miraculous preservation? Who cares? Both were fully God's Word and inerrant, because the words were from God.

If I've drifted off-topic a little, I'll come back with this. Jesus affirmed single-word certainty in our classic proof-text for both verbal inspiration and inerrancy. Nothing in Scripture suggests anything contrary to single-word certainty, and other texts appear to affirm it. So if our formulations for dealing with the difficulties of the manuscript evidence drift from that, and we are questioning single-word certainty, then we are also effectively questioning verbal inspiration and inerrancy, or turning them into a meaningless construct. We have to fall back on "sufficiency", and the question of verbal inspiration and inerrancy simply becomes an interesting theoretical topic for professional theologians to debate, with no reality or substance for pastors and the man in the pew.

"The Scripture cannot be broken (down to the very word)" means nothing if I can't know for certain what the very words are. Inerrancy and verbal inspiration both crumble under verbal uncertainty. They are of no value unless we know the words.

I'm not arguing KJVO. I'm denying the "uncertainty" doctrine that is often used by KJVO opponents. It's not binary. I don't have to accept KJVO to reject uncertainty.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

You seem to be trying to carve out a really awkward view. But we all have to stand where we believe it's right to stand.
I still maintain that there is no "uncertainty emphasis" even though doctrinal statements on bibliology just about always have the "autographs" reference. This is added precision that is really only necessary because of views claiming inspiration of translations, etc.

Jesus did not say it because (a) it wouldn't have made sense at the time (the Scriptures were still being written) and (b) nobody was going around claiming they had a uniquely-inspired translation.

In this discussion, my emphasis has been on uncertainty to a degree (though really, reading it fairly, the only uncertainty I favor is about the word-perfect status of any of our texts), because I'm responding to inappropriate certainty about matters that are, whether we like it or not, uncertain.
It's really not accurate to evaluate an emphasis by looking at statements made in response to a specific problem.

There is no uncertainty emphasis in the pulpit at my church, for example... nor in my writing if someone takes it as a whole. Even on when talking about preservation, I go to Scripture, assume what I have is certain, authoritative holy writ and use it as a basis for argument.

So... I'm a bit confused as to what your view is. Is it that the traditional text is not word perfect but we should avoid saying so as much possible so that we emphasize certainty? I think a better course is to understand that uncertainty about some of the words does not equal uncertainty about the whole. Otherwise, we risk a kind of dishonesty.

Not directly related, but this seems like a good place to store some of this info. The Cambridge 1873 edition of the KJV has several fascinated appendices. Appendix A lists places where they went with later versions of the KJV rather than 1611. These are not all spelling changes! Here's a sample just from Genesis. They list differences for pretty much every book of the Bible.
The middle column is the 1611 reading. The right column shows their chosen reading and what KJV edition it appears in.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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The Cambridge 1873 Appendix E also lists places where the 1611 text differs from either the Stephens or Beza editions of the TR. These are not all spelling differences either. There are different words here and there.

Here's a sample.... not easy to read, but makes the point.

§ I. Passages in which the text of the Authorized Version differs from those of Stephens (1550) and of Beza (1589) jointly.

S. MATT. ii. 11. εἶδον (for εὗρον) Compl., Bishops’. ix. 18. ἄρχων εἷς Compl., Vulg. x. 10. ῥάβδους Compl. S. MARK iv. 18. omit second οὗτοί εἰσιν Compl. v. 38. καὶ κλαίοντας Erasm., Ald., Vulg. ix. 42. τῶν μικρῶν τούτων Compl., Vulg. (“these” 1611, “these” 1638). xv. 3. add to the end αὐτὸς δὲ οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο Compl., Stephens 1546, 1549, Bishops’. S. LUKE iii. 31. μενὰμ Erasm., Ald., Tyndale, Coverdale, Great Bible, Bishops’, Authorized before 1629 (Cambridge). 35. Ἑβὲρ Erasm., Tyndale, Great Bible, Bishops’. See Appendix A, p. lxxxi., and note 2. xii. 56. τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς Compl., Vulg. (Clementine), Coverdale, Great Bible, Bishops’: but the reverse order is found in Erasm., Tyndale, Geneva 1557, &c. xx. 31. καὶ is inserted before οὐ κατέλιπον by Erasm. and all English. S. JOHN viii. 6. add to the end μὴ προσποιούμενος Compl., Stephens 1546, 1549, Bishops’ (“as though he heard them not” italicised not earlier than 1769). xviii. 1. τοῦ Κέδρων apparently. ACTS vii. 16. Ἐμὸρ Erasm., Ald., Tyndale, Great Bible, Geneva, Bishops’, Authorized before 1629 (Camb.). See Appendix A, p. lxxxii. viii. 13. δυνάμεις καὶ σημεῖα γινόμενα Erasm., Ald. (δυνάμεις καὶ σημεία μεγάλα γινόμενα Compl.), Tyndale (Coverdale), Great Bible, Bishops’. The marginal reading is due to 1762. xxvii. 29. ἐκπέσωμεν Compl., Tyndale, Bishops’. EPH. vi. 24. om. Ἀμήν Vulg. See Appendix, p. lxxxii. 2 TIM. i. 18. μοι added after διηκόνησε Vulg. (Clementine), &c., all English. PHILEM. 7. χαρὰν Compl., Vulg., all English: χάριν Erasm., Stephens, Beza. HEB. xii. 24. τὸ Ἄβελ Erasm., Ald. (quam sanguis Abel Erasm. Lat. and English versions up to the Bishops’: “that of” 1611, not italicised before 1638). 2 PETER i. 1. Σίμων Compl., Vulg., all English, except Tyndale 1526, Geneva 1557 (“Simeon”): but Συμέων Erasm., &c. 1 JOHN iii. 16. τοῦ θεοῦ added after ἀγάπην Compl., Vulg. (“of God” italicised as late as 1769). JUDE 12. ὑμῖν added after συνευωχούμενοι Compl., Geneva 1557, Bishops’ (the italics are our own). REV. xi. 4. αἱ prefixed to δύο λυχνίαι Compl. xvii. 4. ἦν (for ἡ) περιβεβλημένη Compl., Vulg., all English. xviii. 1. ἄλλον prefixed to ἄγγελον Compl., Erasm., Ald., all English. 5. ἐκολλήθησαν (for ἠκολούθησαν) Compl. (“pervenerunt” Vulg., “are gone up” Tyndale, Coverdale, Great Bible, Bishops’: “are commen” Geneva 1557; “have reached” 1611). xix. 18. τε added after ἐλευθέρων Compl. (“both” italicised 1769). xxi. 13. καὶ ἀπὸ βορρᾶ…καὶ ἀπὸ νότου…καὶ ἀπὸ δυσμῶν Compl., Vulg., Tyndale, Coverdale, Great Bible, Bishops’: καὶ ἀπὸ βορρᾶ Geneva 1557: καὶ ἀπὸ δυσμῶν Geneva 1557, Authorized. Total 29. The variation in Heb. x. 23 “faith” for “hope” is not included, since it is a mere oversight of our Translators. (Tregelles’ Horne, Vol. IV. p. 227, note). In Acts ix. 29, ἐλάλει τε might seem omitted, but “spake boldly” is adopted after “spake frankly” of Geneva 1557 as adequately rendering παρρησιαζόμενος…ἐλάλει τε.

The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: Of the Authorized English Version. 1873 (c). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

JG's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Jesus did not say it because (a) it wouldn't have made sense at the time (the Scriptures were still being written) and (b) nobody was going around claiming they had a uniquely-inspired translation.

As to a), no Scriptures were being written at the time Jesus spoke, and I don't see why, if it is necessary to put autographal disclaimers today, it wouldn't have been necessary to use them at that time for the OT (the Scriptures to which He was referring). The OT was as complete then as the NT is today. This argument doesn't make any sense to me.

As to b), this is factually mistaken. Not that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint ]Wikipedia is a great source, but I'm pretty sure it is accurate on this:

Quote:
The Septuagint was held in great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus ascribed divine inspiration to its translators.

(....)

According to the legend first recorded in the (pseudepigraphic) Letter of Aristeas, and repeated with embellishments in Philo, Josephus and various later Jewish and Christian sources, Jewish scholars first translated the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) into Koine Greek in the 3rd century BCE.[7 ][8 ] The traditional explanation is that Ptolemy II sponsored the translation [9 ] for use by the many Alexandrian Jews who were fluent in Koine Greek, but not in Hebrew. According to the record in the Talmud,

'King Ptolemy once gathered 72 Elders. He placed them in 72 chambers, each of them in a separate one, without revealing to them why they were summoned. He entered each one's room and said: "Write for me the Torah of Moshe, your teacher." God put it in the heart of each one to translate identically as all the others did.'[10 ] (emphasis mine)

The Letter of Aristeas was 2nd century BC. Philo was apparently 20 BC to 50 AD. There's nothing new under the sun. The idea of a second act of inspiration in translation is not new. It was current in Jesus' and Paul's day. Jesus still spoke with certaintly without autographal disclaimers, and so did Paul, even attributing theopneustos to that translation.

Aaron, I can't spend more time on this discussion right now, but I think I've pretty well expressed my concerns here. You can get more of my thinking http://mindrenewers.com/2011/11/15/the-scriptures-inspired-or-expired/ here (and especially the two main supporting pages) if you want, for a start, though I haven't really tackled preservation yet. But certainly, we've gone far astray on what we are saying about inspiration in modern theologies. We are pushing uncertainty and undermining confidence in the Book people hold in their hand. The whole emphasis is far from the emphasis of Scripture.

We don't have any issues to deal with that weren't present in the days of Jesus and Paul, or the Westminster Divines and Turretin either, for that matter (they had to deal with the claims for the Vulgate). There's nothing new. But Jesus, Paul, Peter, the Westminster Divines, and the Scholastics simply didn't adopt the kinds of autographal disclaimers for both inspiration and inerrancy that modern theologians use. And it ought to give us pause, because our focus has gone astray. People forgot to include autographal disclaimers for 1800 years, and now we have to include them every time? Doesn't compute.

Blessings to you and Peter, but I really have to drop out of this, so I don't necessarily expect you to take the time to answer what I've said here. I know you also are busy. Just some stuff to think about.

JohnBrian's picture

JG wrote:
The idea of a second act of inspiration in translation is not new. It was current in Jesus' and Paul's day.
I want to make sure I understand - in your statement are you affirming belief in a "second act of inspiration in translation"?

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

JohnBrian, I don't JG is going there. He's arguing that if references to "autographa" are necessary today, they would have been just as necessary back in Jesus' day because people were making the same kinds of double inspiration claims then that some are now.

I'm not convinced. Though it's true that there is some evidence that some were claiming the LXX translators were inspired, there does not seem to have been a movement to enshrine that idea as doctrine. As for Paul attributing theopneustos to the LXX, I don't believe that's accurate. He attributed theopneustos to "Scripture" and quoted LXX as "Scripure." This is not the same thing. The reason is that then, as now, there is seldom any reason to distinguish "Scripture" from "translations of Scripture."

As an example, I routinely say in preaching, "The Scriptures tell us..." then quote or read from my Bible. There is a technical difference between what God inspired and what we have in English. The difference matters in direct proportion to the degree to which idiosyncratic/heterodox doctrines of reinspiration are being used to divide, form sects, split churches, etc. The idea of KJV as a uniquely inspired (or reinspired) translation came along in the 20th century and quickly became a tool for causing division and rallying supporters and stirring antagonisms. Classic definition of heresy.

If there had been a major "double inspiration" style heresy in the early church, I have no doubt that the apostles would have made some of the distinctions we do today-- in reference to the exclusive inspiration of the autographa.

Given the confusion that abounds on this subject, I think those concerned for sound doctrine must take a firm stand against these errors. It's certainly not a good idea to come as close to them as possible while simultaneously rejecting "KJVO." Trying to carve out that micrometer-thin distinction can only breed confusion.

I want to be clear, though, that I believe there is plenty of room for the position that the traditional text is best. It's just wrong to say that it's perfect or that favoring the TR is a biblical doctrine.

It's also not true that if you make an autographa distinction in your doctrinal statement, you have an "emphasis" on uncertainty. Emphasis comes from how much attention you give to something and how intense and passionate that attention is. A distinction that is only made in reaction to the errors of others and only referenced when that error comes up can hardly be called an emphasis.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Greg Long's picture

I'm with Aaron on this one. If I'm teaching or preaching and making a statement about the Bibles we are using, I feel absolutely comfortable saying, "Our Bibles are inspired and inerrant" while holding up the particular copy of the particular translation I am using. The addition "...inasmuch as they accurately reflect the original manuscripts" is understood and not necessary to repeat every time. And "inasmuch as they accurately reflect the original manuscripts" is understood to mean "inasmuch as they accurately translate the extant copies of the original manuscripts" because of course we do not have the original manuscripts.

But it MUST be understood, otherwise we have no way to distinguish translations that do NOT accurately reflect the extant copies of the original manuscripts, such as the New World Translation. So if we are crafting a precisely worded doctrinal statement or teaching specifically on the doctrine of bibliology, we MUST make that distinction that the Bibles in our hands are inspired to the extent that they accurately convey the true Word of God.

But just like Jesus and the disciples didn't spell that out in detail every time they made a statement about God's Word, neither must we.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Jay's picture

Peter - I'm glad to see that you had the time to get back online; I am assuming that your dad is recovering well.

To all-

I mentioned this before, but I'm not sure if anyone actually replied to http://sharperiron.org/comment/37052#comment-37052 ]this particular post , so I wanted to bring it up again. We keep talking about the historic method of how the Scripture was transmitted, and I'd written this:

Quote:

Charlie wrote:
Richard Muller is a historian, not a theologian. PRRD is historical theology. That said, I believe PVK's point is that the Reformed never talked about "original autographs" in the manner that Warfield did. They believed that the texts they had were preserved. Thus, the idea seems to be that we deduce the purity of the text FROM the church's use, rather than trying to determine the correct text, and then use it.

Of course, the value of their perspective is both real and limited. They were 1) working extremely hard to get away from the need for any kind of magisterium and 2) before the arrival of historical consciousness in general and the history of textual transmission in particular. In other words, they were not aware of the breadth of the differences occurring in manuscripts in use by the church. IOW, I don't think the Protestant Scholastic doctrine of preservation ought to be the contemporary Protestant doctrine. Or, it needs to be heavily refined, accounting for the differences in use.

That makes sense to me. Part of my underlying presuppositions is that we see use of the Scripture in the NT as the final authority without deference to text type or manuscript - Jesus' citations of the OT (Mt. 4:1-10) with Paul's use of the LXX (Acts 13:26-48 and other epistles) and Peter's references to Paul's writings (II Peter 3:15-16) are all on the same level of authority in the New Testament. If that's the case, then why would it have changed for today's church? Did God somehow stop preserving the text and so that now we have to use only one manuscript family or translation? If so, then what criteria do we use to know that God chose to use the (blank text/manuscript) and not the (blank text family/manuscript)? If it's determined by the believing community - as he posits - then the people that use the Alexandrian or Eclectic texts are ipso facto not a part of the believing community because they don't use the right text, but that can't be true either, because there are godly Christians who do use them.

As an aside, it wasn't really until the Gutenberg Press (early 1450's) that the Scriptures could even really be distributed to many people, and the steam driven printing presses weren't developed for the mass production of books (on a scale that we think of) until the early 1800's. So that means to me that somehow God managed to preserve His Word just fine for at least 1300 years at a bare minimum without this becoming a significant issue, and the relative 'novelty' of this debate speaks volumes against it.

I was struck by this again this morning, when I was reading in Exodus. God appears to Moses while he's in Midian and says "Go Free My People". Moses argues against God, and finally, ultimately, complies. In the course of his discussion, he says "Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” [and ] God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

If it is sufficient for Moses to demand obedience to God via things that have been verbally communicated to him - and then turn around and demand compliance by both the Israelites and the unbelieving Egyptians - I should think that it is more than sufficient to believe that God's word, as given to us in the totality of the manuscripts is more than sufficient for today. We have the examples that I cited above - where God sends a prophet to verbally command obedience in Moses, Jesus' repeated use of the LXX to teach in addition to what he'd memorized, Paul's use of the LXX, and Peter's arguments based on Paul's letters - and all we know is that God used them. That should be more than sufficient for us.

I also mentioned that we didn't even have access to many printed words until the early 1800's due to the expense and labor associated with making copies of Scripture. So the reason why our understanding of the theology of text transmission is "deficient" (I don't like that term, but I'll use it) is because Christians never had to worry about it until at least the mid-1800's. THAT tells me that this is a relatively new idea/heresy, but to seriously discuss it is proving difficult because of the pernicious idea that God must have done it in a way that we like or can accept. Who is God here? Us, or God?

I am beginning to regard this whole discussion (of manuscripts and text authority) as a complete and utter waste of time. Odious insinuations aside, Peter has not (cannot?) prove any kind of consistent historical or scriptural basis for the transmission of one standard sacred text, much less any of his other assertions that 'the believing community' knows instinctively what is the best readings. Nor can he provide any kind of objective evidence for how we can know any of what he's saying is true.

God has not clearly explained how he has chosen to preserve His word for us. That is His prerogative. Our command is to obey, and teach and make disciples.

Paul summed up this entire discussion in one paragraph:

I Timothy 1:1-7 wrote:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Maybe we ought to just listen to what Paul says instead of doing what he condemns.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

JG's picture

Thank you for asking BEFORE launching your ICBMs. Smile

In fact, theopneustos isn't a first act. It's not an "act" at all. It is an "is", not a "was", an adjective, not a verb. It is in II Timothy 3:16, which is talking about what the Scriptures are. It isn't in II Peter 1:21, which talks about how they came to us. We need to put away Warfield for a minute and read II Tim. 3:16 in context. Then, we can go read his first major article in which he said he was defining the word more narrowly than it had been historically AND more narrowly than Scriptural usage.

I hope we agree that Timothy was using a Greek translation of some sort in Ephesus. So 4:2 ("Preach the Word") is talking about a translation. 3:15 is most likely talking about a translation. 3:17 is talking about a translation that equips those Timothy is supposed to be teaching (2:2) who will not all know Hebrew, if any of them do. So 3:16 "profitable" is talking about a translation, or it's meaningless in the context of someone ministering in Ephesus.

So are we going to yank theopneustos out of context, and turn it into a verb so we can anchor it only to the autographs, or are we going to do exegesis first, and then theology?

It's an adjective describing the divine nature of the Scriptures, which obviously and implicitly flows out of their divine origin. But the emphasis is at least as much on "nature" as on "origin", and that divine nature lives on in any reasonably accurate translation (like the one Timothy used in Ephesus).

(Channeling the Professor). Logic. What do they teach them in these schools? Smile There's a difference between an adjective and a verb, and context matters in exegesis.

And so it is murdering theopneustos (inspiration) to say it only applies to the autographs. It's neither a first or second act in translations, it is divine nature. The Word of God is living, and its divine nature lives on in translations (see also I Peter 1:23, also probably primarily written to Greek speakers, and the last three verses in Romans which makes this abundantly clear).

Greg, I largely agree with your comment, but one major difference. "But just like Jesus and the disciples didn't spell that out in detail every time they made a statement about God's Word, neither must we."

I don't think they ever spelled it out in detail, not even once. Despite the fact that a false "translational inscripturation" view (I'll use that instead of "second act of inspiration") was running around, they never said the kinds of things we say, the "autographal disclaimers". If they didn't, why must we?

Even a five year old knows that if you copy the words wrong, you don't have the Word of God any more. Even a ten year old knows that if a translation is wrong, it isn't God's Word any more. I personally think the KJVOers have people running scared so we make all kinds of disclaimers that aren't needed and end up undermining the confidence of the man in the pew of his Book in hand. God never once made such disclaimers in the Scripture.

OK, I'm not even going to look at this thread again for a couple days -- you drew me back in again :). I simply don't have time. It's explained in that link I gave above and the supporting links on that page, if anyone doesn't follow what I'm saying. I'll check back in a couple days, Lord willing.

In any event, I don't want to hijack Peter's thread. I mainly just wanted to make the point that if we sound uncertain, even in dealing with translations, we don't sound like the Scriptures, and it's time for some re-examination. Blessings to you all.

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Continuing again with the line of reasoning from Hoornbeeck, look again at Turretin who quotes Peter Martyr concerning the unimpaired integrity of Scripture in writing, "'For God, who of his own mercy wished the divine letters to be preserved for us, has given them to us entire and uncorrupted.'" (Turretin, p. 73) And in another place Martyr writes, "'Therefore the Scriptures remain uncorrupted, which if weakened in one or another place, will also be suspected in others.'" (Turretin, p. 73)

For good measure let me quote from Hoornbeeck again, "'If the Holy Scriptures err in some things...our faith in Scripture can be neither certain nor divine." (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 307) To cap it all off Muller comments that "Hoornbeeck's polemic...surely does indicate the state of the question in the seventeenth century." (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 307)

In sum, yes we know that no two MSS agree perfectly, but the Scripture itself and the collation of those MSS which resulted in the Masoretic Hebrew and TR has yielded a pure text, possessing unimpaired integrity. As such the Scripture is spoken of as “entire and uncorrupted” and as possessing no elements “of not importance.” So then to conclude with Muller on Hoornbeeck, “As a seventh argument, Hoornbeeck notes the oddity and novelty of Socinus’ view of Scripture: there is a ‘consensus of the Fathers and the theologians’ of later ages concerning the infallibility of Scripture against various adversities of the faith. Augustine, Epiphanius, and even the Jesuits of Louvin condemn those who deny the truth of Scripture and who claim that it is not necessary for all of its words to be inspired by the Spirit.” (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 308) That underlined portion is just for you Brother Blumer when you said in Post #231 “First, "pure" cannot mean the removal of corruption in reference to God's words.” If all of its words must be inspired then all of its words are pure. Please note two things: Hoornbeeck is speaking of a single text [its ] and in the present tense.

Now I know you are going to disagree. And you are going to offer “counterarguments” saying things about people you have never read. But consider this for just a moment. I am arguing the Standard Sacred Text position without ever referencing a single “King James” guy.

Now to some specific points:

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

But when it is not entirely clear what God has said, we have a less confident faith.

Funny that you should say this. So are you "entirely clear" on the hypostatic union, that Jesus is all God and all man or that the He is one of three persons in the pericoretic nature of the Triune God? I don't know anyone who is "entirely clear" on these two topics yet they rest at the foundation of faith and salvation and are believed with absolute confidence. So is your faith "less confident" in these areas because you are not entirely clear?

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

That's actually your position... that the Bible speaks of scribal/"believing community' perfection...

On the contrary, I speak of the believing community merely recognizing the perfect self-authenticating words of God by the leading of the perfect Holy Spirit. "Perfect" is not ascribed to the believing community but to the perfect words of God by the perfect leading of the Holy Spirit both are taught in Scripture.

Quote:
Brother Blumer's definition of "meanest"

"Mean" means common, ordinary or in some cases, of low quality.

In the historical context, what English “translations“ were in view?

Concerning whether God in history gave by revelation 1 John 5:7 or not, Brother Blumer wrote,

Quote:
So, just so I'm clear, your argument here is that if two people have any difference in belief about what God has revealed, they believe in two different Gods?

No no, look at it like an event in time. Like this, God parted the Red Sea or God did not part the Red Sea. Some people believe in a God that did not part the Red Sea. I believe in a God that did. Some people believe God did not give by inspiration 1 John 5:7. I believe in a God that did. So one God did and another did not, and since there is only one God someone is willingly believing in a God that is not that one God. Now this very elementary question touches on issues of divine time, divine oneness, divine immutability, divine decree, divine will and the list goes on. To say doctrine does not come into question when meddling with God's Holy Scriptures is preposterous, not to mention it is the historical position to maintain the unimpaired integrity of the Scripture in a saint’s hand which you don't, so now the doctrine of Bibliology is at stake according to the historical position.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

How would "He" or "Christ" "self authenticate"?

No, it is self-authenticating. It is not an action it is a state of being. The action is done by the Holy Spirit leading God's people to either "He" because God said "He" or "Christ" because God said "Christ" and then the people of God submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and accept the self-authenticating reading by submission.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

While this process is going on, even if it only takes days, the people would not have a text they are not certain is word perfect... and all your arguments on the necessity of total certainty for every word defeat your own position.

When a saint reads the word of God they are called by the Holy Spirit to receive it by faith without doubting any of it. So the believing community got to a point where they were reading the Geneva Bible and then the Bishops Bible came along. They held the Geneva to be the perfect word of God and gave the new comer a shot. Let me put it like this. I know what I believe and I believe it with my whole heart but that does prevent me from hearing Arminians, Theistic Evolutionists, and the like. I will give them a shot without ever wavering in my belief. In a similar manner, God's people can hold the Geneva Bible while allowing the Bishops Bible into the conversation without ever wavering from the belief that the Bible in their hand is totally without error.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

Do you believe this word? The.

As it appears in God's word, Yes. Which one, you might say. My answer, all of them.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote concerning his use of emanation,

I'm pretty sure the Gnostics used the word "spirit" quite a lot, too!

No you don't get it. Emanation in theology and philosophy is Plotinus and Gnostic like Hope and Change is President Obama in the world of present politics.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

If you replace "Christ" with "He" and "Him" enough times, you have a bit of a different impact. But the meaning is identical.

An idea can only be divinely pure as it is divinely given. If God did not give "He" then the idea drawn from it is not divine. To say the Bible reads "He" instead of “Christ” when the inspired word is “Christ” is to ascribe God's name to something God did not say which is a form of blasphemy. Jeremiah preached against false prophets who did such things on several occasions.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Here are a couple points that I hope will lend some clarity:

1.) Two things that are different cannot be the same in form or substance.

Example: A Poodle is a dog and a Pitbull is a dog but they are not the same. They are both dogs, have tails, four legs, and bark but they are not the same. God and God's word say the same thing in form and substance, the NIV and ESV do not say the same thing in form and substance. One of them is a better translation of God's word in English because they are not the same. It is incumbent upon God's people to submit to and ascribe to the better as their sole rule of faith and practice.

2.) The Standard Sacred Text position is not a struggle simply for the KJB but to challenge others to simply hold to one text as their rule of faith and practice because Spirit of God has so lead you. Then stand for that text because you have been lead by the Spirit to hold it as the best English translation. Many others may be good but they are not the best, as yours is.

3.) God alone is a fit witness to Himself.

No man may say words God has not said and then ascribe those words to God. That is blasphemy. No man may write words that God has not given and then ascribe those words to God. That is also blasphemy. No man may willing say or write words that he does not know for certain are God's words and then call them God's words, for God's words can only be known by faith and the object of faith must be certain. No man may preach words that he is not certain are God's words and then call them God's words.

4.) The movement of the Holy Spirit cannot be proven by empirical evidences.

All we know is that Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us (the believing community) into all truth. As a result the Spirit guides us to the words of God which are the revealed source of truth being truth. Therefore, the validator of the words of God is the Spirit of God and not the mere reason of men and MSS collation.

5.) MSS are not the same as the TR or NA 27.

Note: MSS are ten's of thousand’s of papyri pieces and velum codices none of which agree perfectly. The NA 27 and the TR (historic Greek apographa) are compilations of the MSS. The historic reference to apographa is not to the multitude of MSS but to a single document of Greek and Hebrew.

6.) The position of a standard sacred apographa and a standard sacred translation for a given people group existed long before rise of modern textual theory and its subsequent theological formulations. Standing for the text of history, the KJB tradition, is not a new development. It was the tradition for which Rome burnt our forefathers at the stake for. It was the underlying Greek and Hebrew apographa that the Protestants took against the Roman Catholic Church and their Vulgate.

Side Note: The preface to the KJB and its use of "meanest" refers to the English translations preceding the KJB. They are not refereeing to any translation, but the translation tradition of the KJB.

7.) There is a fundamental difference between the evaluation of the process of a thing and an end result of that thing.

Example: There were refinements of the TR. There were refinements of the King James Bible we can see that as students of history. But the souls at the first iteration had no knowledge of the following iterations and therefore held their Bible as pure. Nor did the souls of the most recent iteration regard the last iterations as God's word over the most recent iteration. but rather held the most recent as the pure word of God. Each time there was a new iteration the believing community by the leading of the Spirit moved to the better iteration or did not move if the "next" was not better.

8.) Could there yet be another iteration of the KJB?

Answer: It is possible. It would depend on the discovery of new evidence in the Greek and Hebrew. Then a translation would be made and we would then wait to see if the Holy Spirit lead His people to that "iteration". Or the historic apographa (Masoretic Hebrew/TR) would be retranslated and then we wait to see if the Holy Spirit moved his people to that retranslation.

9.) How do we know a change in Bibles is of the Spirit or not?

Answer: If the change is consistent with Scripture. Is, easier to read, consistent with Scripture? Is, I need a Bible tailored to my needs, consistent with Scripture? Is, in seminary I was told this was the best Bible on the market, consistent with Scripture? Is, the reason why I am changing to Bible X is because the very words of the Bible demonstrate themselves to be the words of God by the leading of the Holy Spirit, consistent with Scripture? Is the change consistent with Scripture?

10.) Synecdochic consistency in Scripture teaches that the whole speaks for the parts and the parts for the whole. If the whole is without error then the parts are without error and if the parts are without error then the whole is without error. If the whole possesses error so then does the part and if the part then the whole.

11.) Not one of the linguists responsible for the NA 27 or the UBS 4th Rev maintain that even one word belongs in those N.T. Greek texts with absolute certainty. Every word possesses some degree of doubt. I have met Daniel Wallace and studied under Vern Poythress two professional linguists, if you ask them, "Do you think word X belongs in the Bible with absolute certainty?" the reply is, No. If the professionals are not sure how can you be?

12.) All scholars are just men, but some represent a system of thought held by a particular group of people. Turretin is one such man. Turretin’s Institutes represent the theological position of the believing community of his time. The overarching point in employing Turretin is to prove one simple point, the theology you believe now concerning the Bible is not the theology the orthodox believed then. Disregard men such as this. Throw them under the bus so to speak, but know that you have diverged without good reason, so quit your language of heresy and schism.

Questions:

Why is it wrong to believe that every jot and tittle of the Bible is preserved in a book if Jesus says so in Scripture?

Why is it wrong to believe the Bible is pure without qualification when the Bible says the Bible is pure without qualification?

Why is the Standard Sacred Text position called schismatic when the Standard Sacred Text position was mainstream long before the modern textual approach?

Why do we accept the healing of the blind and raising of the dead by faith, but not that every jot and tittle of the Bible is present in the Bible by faith?

Why do you guys filter every verse about the perfection and purity of the Bible through Ps. 119:89?

Why is your faith certain in salvation but not certain of purity in portions of revelation, the fount of salvific knowledge?

Why do you hold your salvation inviolate and not your Bible, the former precedes from the latter?

Why do you hold with certainty that no error has crept into Scripture concerning salvation?

Why do you hold your proof text(s) for the purity of the salvation message to be without error?

How do you know for certain that any word in the Bible is a word that belongs in the Bible?

How do scholars know for certain that any word in the Bible belongs in the Bible?

How do you know for certain that the Bible you hold is God's word?

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
3.) God alone is a fit witness to Himself.

No man may say words God has not said and then ascribe those words to God. That is blasphemy. No man may write words that God has not given and then ascribe those words to God. That is also blasphemy. No man may willing say or write words that he does not know for certain are God's words and then call them God's words, for God's words can only be known by faith and the object of faith must be certain. No man may preach words that he is not certain are God's words and then call them God's words.

Peter,

I think this is at the heart of the issue here. God did not say one single word in your KJ Bible. He spoke in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek - but not a single word of English, either old or modern. By your standard here, you blaspheme when you ascribe those words to God.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
4.) The movement of the Holy Spirit cannot be proven by empirical evidences.

All we know is that Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us (the believing community) into all truth. As a result the Spirit guides us to the words of God which are the revealed source of truth being truth. Therefore, the validator of the words of God is the Spirit of God and not the mere reason of men and MSS collation.

This question has been asked numerous times as well, but you have yet to answer it that I have seen. In what way does the Holy Spirit guide men to this conclusion? Where has the entire body ever been in complete agreement on this issue?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

The bull terrier gene in me wants to hang on forever, but I'm not seeing much on "the other side" now that I haven't already answered several times.
I guess one small point.
Theopneustos is indeed an adjective. However it is an adjective that describes an action. "God breathed." Without an action that it references, the word has no meaning. So I think the argument from "adjective not action" is weak. It's like saying "elect" is an adjective (which it is in several places) and therefore doesn't refer to an act of choosing. (Friend of mine in seminary tried to make that argument. I used the same counter I'm using here). If I describe my chicken as "baked," I'm used "baked" as adjective. But the action is still in view.

OK, one more... the "word" we are supposed to preach is the Scriptures God breathed. It does not refer specifically to copies or translations. But we fulfill the command by preaching from copies and translations because these are included in "word."

If you picture it as a venn diagram, the biggest circle is "word" (in some contexts--including speaking), "Scripture" is a slightly smaller one entirely contained by "word." Smaller yet is "copy" and "translation." Not sure how those last two would relate to eachother, but how they relate to Scripture is clear: they are subsets. If you wanted to be really fussy, you could make the "translation" and "copy" circles bleed outside the Scripture boundary just a tiny bit because of the human elements in these.
Viewed from a distance, it would not be possible to tell they are not completely contained by "Scripture" and "word."

One more more...
To Peter: there is nothing in the distinction between 'manuscript' and 'text' that in any way helps your case or weakens mine. There are differences in editions of the traditional text, just as there are differences in editions of the KJV.
That fact completely ruins your argument, because you've been stressing all along that we must have 100% certainty of every word else zero confidence in the Scriptures. If they are not completely pure textually, they cannot be an object of faith.
But if a single word has changed in the traditional text or any translation therefrom, that means those who thought their Bible was 100% pure before the change were mistaken. And their faith was misplaced. So which edition is the 100% pure one that can be a suitable object of faith? The support for this view doesn't hold up.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Ron Bean's picture

Quote:
Why is it wrong to believe that every jot and tittle of the Bible is preserved in a book if Jesus says so in Scripture?

Just save me the digging. Where does Jesus say that every jot and tittle is preserved a book?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
4.) The movement of the Holy Spirit cannot be proven by empirical evidences.

All we know is that Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us (the believing community) into all truth. As a result the Spirit guides us to the words of God which are the revealed source of truth being truth. Therefore, the validator of the words of God is the Spirit of God and not the mere reason of men and MSS collation.

This question has been asked numerous times as well, but you have yet to answer it that I have seen. In what way does the Holy Spirit guide men to this conclusion? Where has the entire body ever been in complete agreement on this issue?


I think he finally answered this question:
Quote:

4.) The movement of the Holy Spirit cannot be proven by empirical evidences.

All we know is that Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us (the believing community) into all truth. As a result the Spirit guides us to the words of God which are the revealed source of truth being truth. Therefore, the validator of the words of God is the Spirit of God and not the mere reason of men and MSS collation.


The problem with this, of course, is that Peter can't split the difference. That's why he can't answer the question about what happens with the 'believing community' that disagrees with his SST. If you are a Christian, you *must* use the text he argues for in order to make his theological position coherent and non-contradictory. If you claim to be a Christian but don't use his SST (whatever it is), then I guess you aren't really a Christian at all - you certainly can't be a part of the 'believing community' that he wants to use to support his theory that there is one true SST.

Peter's argument is a house of cards that looks very nice, but starts to fall apart if you examine it closely. It's nothing more than a string of assertions that cannot be verified or supported without buying into the whole thing, hook, line and sinker, which is exactly what Peter has done. It takes more faith to believe in what he says than it does to believe that God has given us His Words, which are:

NIV II Tim. 3:15-17 wrote:
the Holy Scriptures, [and ] are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

DavidO's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
To Peter: there is nothing in the distinction between 'manuscript' and 'text' that in any way helps your case or weakens mine. There are differences in editions of the traditional text, just as there are differences in editions of the KJV.
That fact completely ruins your argument, because you've been stressing all along that we must have 100% certainty of every word else zero confidence in the Scriptures. If they are not completely pure textually, they cannot be an object of faith.
But if a single word has changed in the traditional text or any translation therefrom, that means those who thought their Bible was 100% pure before the change were mistaken. And their faith was misplaced. So which edition is the 100% pure one that can be a suitable object of faith? The support for this view doesn't hold up.

The Brandenburg view on this is as follows:

The true Greek text is that received/accepted by the church(es).
The KJV was received by the church(es) (not sure if he specifies an edition).
The true Greek text is that which lies behind the KJV (he specifies the 1881 Scriveners printed edition which was sort of reverse engineered).

That last point is interesting because it relieves him and others of having to point to a specific prior manuscript, even though he asserts it/they exist/s and would have been recognized by the church.

He would add that that text has always been the true text and generally available to be accepted by the church(es), even if in "some from this manuscript, some from that" fashion.

JG's picture

Killed it dead. Smile

I'll give three posts here, this one is brief to narrowly address two comments.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
If there had been a major "double inspiration" style heresy in the early church, I have no doubt that the apostles would have made some of the distinctions we do today-- in reference to the exclusive inspiration of the autographa.

This opens the door wide open to multiple new and exciting heresies. "If the apostles had to deal with what we deal with, I'm SURE they would have said this...."

Either we define our theology based on the Scripture alone, or we don't. If the Scriptures don't say something, we shouldn't claim that they would have in different circumstances. I don't really think you thought this aspect of your comment through very well.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Given the confusion that abounds on this subject, I think those concerned for sound doctrine must take a firm stand against these errors. It's certainly not a good idea to come as close to them as possible while simultaneously rejecting "KJVO." Trying to carve out that micrometer-thin distinction can only breed confusion.

This is a strange way to characterize what I'm saying. I'm saying our statements should sound like Christ and the apostles. You say I'm trying to sound like KJVO without being them. This is effectively conceding that KJVO sounds more like Christ and the apostles than their opponents do -- and I agree. That is not to say that KJVO is right, it is to say that the way that their opponents are expressing themselves needs some real examination.

JG's picture

http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pt006.htm Bahnsen made this point, though he didn't follow it through to its logical conclusion. He argued it logically, but there is sound Scriptural basis.

II Peter 1:21 doesn't say "wrote", it says "spake". It is the words that matter, and that are inspired. The piece of paper which records them is an irrelevance, and the Scripture never talks about autographs. In fact, we have multiple cases which are somewhat problematic for "autograph-only inspiration".

In fact, the "prophecy of Scripture" was the Word of God before it was ever written. It was as much the inspired Word of God, once He gave it to the prophet who spoke it, as it was after it was written. Inscripturation was the first act of preservation, so that it would be preserved to all generations (and yes, there is a connection between Psalm 119:89 and Psalm 119:90, or verse 90 would be horribly out of place in the Psalm, and verse 91 ties them together clearly).

1. The stone tables of the Law. Which copy was the inspired autograph? Was the second copy re-inspired, or was it "inspired preservation", or what? No one cares. It is the words that matter. God gave and preserved them. But if you insist that the autographs alone are inspired, then you have to figure this one out. But nobody really believes this matters, because deep down everyone knows it is the words that matter, not the autographs.
2. Jeremiah 36. Which is the original autograph, the one in verses 1-4 or the one in 27-32? Is the second copy preservation, or re-inspiration? Unfortunately for the "autograph-only" view, the second copy contained both the words of the first copy (thus, it is a copy, not an autograph) and some additional words (thus, it is an autograph, not a copy). So which is it? How do you know Jeremiah didn't have a photographic memory, and thus the second copy was simply providential preservation, with some additional newly-inspired material? Or is this autograph-only distinction simply rather silly, because it is the words that are inspired?
3. Proverbs 25:1. Which is the inspired original autograph, that which Solomon wrote, or that which Hezekiah's men copied out? If the former, then Proverbs 25:1 isn't inspired, I guess. But if the latter, then we really aren't talking about an original autograph, are we? We're talking about an inspired copy.
4. Psalm 18/II Samuel 22. Which is the inspired original autograph?

The whole point is that the Scriptural focus is on the words, not the original autographs. Always. And there are cases where even figuring out what the original autograph was is difficult, and no one cares that it is difficult, because no one really cares about the autographs. We rightly care about the words.

Two more questions. Who were the inspired writers of Jeremiah and Romans, Jeremiah and Paul, or Baruch and Tertius? Since it is the words that matter, we say that Jeremiah and Paul, who dictated them, were the human writers (and Peter said Paul wrote epistles), even though there is no certain proof that they ever even read the original autographs. In many cases we don't even know who penned the original autographs, though we know who spoke the words. So what? It's the words that matter.

The Scripture knows nothing of the mystical importance we place on "original autographs". The words are inspired.

Off-topic? Not really. Autograph-only inspiration is a foundational assumption that is not taught in Scripture, is very problematic if we look at the whole of Scripture, and needs to be challenged. It needs solid proof, and the Scriptures contain none.

JG's picture

I realize I am challenging long-held assumptions for some of you when I say that theopneustos is A) not primarily talking about an act, but the divine nature of the Scriptures Cool it does not apply only to the autographs and C) it applies to translations as well.

So for those who want to think it through, I'll just ask some questions. If the Biblical meaning of theopneustos is only the original act of giving the Scriptures, and not a continuing quality of the Scriptures:
1. Why did the Westminster Confession use "immediate inspiration" instead of "inspiration" to describe that act? Why did the London Baptist and Philadelphia Baptist confessions follow in that? Why did they use an extra-biblical technical term to describe the act, if theopneustos / inspiration would have sufficed?
2. Why didn't Paul use an aorist (or perfect) passive verb, if he wanted to just describe an "act" of inspiration?
3. Why does everyone translate II Tim. 3:16 with "is" instead of "was", if theopneustos is only referring to the original act/autographs, rather than at least as much referring to a continuing quality?
4. Why do we create a false choice between "act" and "nature"? Theopneustos can have both an action and the continuing nature in view. To go back to Aaron's example, "baked" chicken refers to an act, but it refers at least as much to the condition of the chicken now. It is focused not on time or place or heat of baking, but on what you have now -- a cooked fowl. "Elect" Scripturally is at least as much focused on what we are now as a result of God's choosing as it is on the act of choosing. In fact, in most cases the result of "elect" is much more in view than the act, when it is an adjective. Similarly with theopneustos, it implies an act but focuses on the result of the act.
5. Why do we assume a technical meaning for theopneustos that only applies to the autographs when everything else in the passage is eminently practical to Timothy's ministry in Ephesus, and fully applies to Book-in-hand, whether copy or translation? Does context mean anything at all?
6. Why do we assume a meaning for theopneustos which is based solely on etymology, when the http://mindrenewers.com/2011/11/09/given-by-inspiration-the-connotations... connotations of the breath of God are so strong in Scripture? Why do we not consider that both the connotations and the context are pointing in the same direction, towards an emphasis on the divine nature which resides in the words of Scripture?
7. Who, before Warfield and A.A. Hodge in 1881, limited inspiration to the autographs? Was everyone wrong up until that date?
8. Why did http://mindrenewers.com/warfields-redefinition-of-inspiration/ Warfield and Hodge , in their first major article on this in 1881 which advocated autograph-only inspiration, admit that they were giving theopneustos a narrower definition than it had been given previously, and admit that their definition was more narrow than the Scriptural definition? Shouldn't we go back to the Scriptural usage of the term?

Was Arthur Pink really heretical when he said the following, or does what he says match the Scriptural usage, and the entire strand of historical interpretation up until Warfield?

Pink wrote:
The Holy Scriptures not only were “inspired of God,” but they are so now. They come as really and as truly God’s Word to us, as they did unto those to whom they were first addressed.

Again, I don't believe this is off-topic, but please correct me if I'm wrong. We create a false division between inspiration and preservation, because inspiration as Biblically used (and historically understood until 1881) is the divine quality of the preserved Word of God. This divine quality is not limited to the autographs, it extends even to any reasonably accurate translation, and this mis-placed limitation has contributed to a "disclaimer language" and a lack of confidence in preservation that has been much evidenced in this thread. In the passages I mentioned in the post above this, there is overlap between copies and autographs, between on the one hand immediate inspiration / inscripturation and on the other hand preservation. The distinction is not as great as we make it out to be.

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