Read With Me: ‘Why I Preach from the Received Text: An Anthology of Essays by Reformed Ministers’

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Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I’m going to be reading through Why I Preach from the Received Text: An Anthology of Essays by Reformed Ministers.

If anyone would like to also read it, this is a place where we can share our thoughts and perhaps talk through some of the issues.

I put it in this forum (not the literary forum) because the discussion will be about textual issues.

Anyone interested?
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I read Brett Mahlen's essay. As Dr. Riddle mentioned at the conference though, the book is more of a devotion/testimonial rather than an apologetic for the TR position.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I read Brett Mahlen's essay. As Dr. Riddle mentioned at the conference though, the book is more of a devotion/testimonial rather than an apologetic for the TR position.
I understand that, but it still helps give a full-orbed view of the TR position. At least I hope so. I’ve yet to read anything like it.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I read chapter one.

I know the book is not meant to be a systematic apologetic of the position, but the first essay was a 1/5, if I’m being generous.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
That's an interesting review. Concerning the "demonization" language, I've seen it from a certain contributor (in that book) on social media.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm sad to say that I'm much less interested now if Ward is correct that some of the contributors appeal to Psalm 12:6-7.
Yes ... it's unfortunate, seeing that almost no one in church history, outside of ruckmanites, have taken this verse as referring to the preservation of the scriptures.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
What made it a 1/5?
I hesitate to be too critical because I’m just a nobody. But these were my observations.

1)

The author uses nearly two pages out of the nine total to tell us how bad the RSV, NASB, and NIV translations are. In a book about the Received Text, translational choices are irrelevant to the discussion.

As an example, the author says of the NASB, it “favors questionable interpretations in the way it translates some prepositions and other words.”

No evidence given. Simply “modern translations bad, KJV good” type of argumentation.

For the NIV, the author decries it for not being “a word-for-word translation,” and tacks on to the end of the paragraph, “based on the critical text.”

Again conflating translation and textual issues, coming across as mere rhetoric (which I’m finding much of the book to be).


2)

Author says’ “When I began to study Old Testament textual criticism in seminary, it became quite clear that the Lord had “by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Old Testament.”

States it as fact, provides no evidence, and moves on.


3)

Author claims eclecticism is “not based on biblical faith in the infinite, eternal, unchangeable, supernatural God…[who] reveals himself in his Word, which he breathed out and preserved.”

Granted this was during his time in seminary, possibly learning about the worst of modern textual criticism; but it is a common theme in this book to go after the low-hanging fruit instead of comparing the TR position to the best of believing, faithful, Confessional CT scholarship.


4)

There’s nearly a page devoted to proclaiming the glories of God, and speaking of things such as infallible truth, divine promises, God as author of Scripture, the divine nature of Scripture in its qualities, etc., with a rhetorical flair that is meant to lead the reader to think the TR position has a monopoly on believing such things.


5)

Author claims that the way the “modern method of textual criticism” deals with variant readings (i.e. “make a rational guess about what a human author is likely to have written and whether it was accurately copied or was corrupted”), is “fundamentally contrary to the biblical doctrine of God and his self-attesting revelation of himself to men.” He cites WCF 1.4 here.

This obviously makes it seem as though the TR is monolithic, with no variants between the manuscripts, and that no human had to ever make a judgment call about any jot or tittle.


6)

In favor of his position, the author claims that “when an error was made in a manuscript [through the centuries], it was discarded.” Meaning, the church kept the manuscript tradition “faithfully preserv[ed].” This is why you can trust the TR.


That’s all I have for that one. I’d love your thoughts on any of those points.

Overall it was full of rhetoric and baseless assertions, never touching upon solid, believing CT scholarship.

I’m really worried the book is going to be largely a collection of essays with a KJVO vibe, dressed in TR garb. I hope I’m wrong.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
I hesitate to be too critical because I’m just a nobody. But these were my observations.

1)

The author uses nearly two pages out of the nine total to tell us how bad the RSV, NASB, and NIV translations are. In a book about the Received Text, translational choices are irrelevant to the discussion.

As an example, the author says of the NASB, it “favors questionable interpretations in the way it translates some prepositions and other words.”

No evidence given. Simply “modern translations bad, KJV good” type of argumentation.

For the NIV, the author decries it for not being “a word-for-word translation,” and tacks on to the end of the paragraph, “based on the critical text.”

Again conflating translation and textual issues, coming across as mere rhetoric (which I’m finding much of the book to be).


2)

Author says’ “When I began to study Old Testament textual criticism in seminary, it became quite clear that the Lord had “by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Old Testament.”

States it as fact, provides no evidence, and moves on.


3)

Author claims eclecticism is “not based on biblical faith in the infinite, eternal, unchangeable, supernatural God…[who] reveals himself in his Word, which he breathed out and preserved.”

Granted this was during his time in seminary, possibly learning about the worst of modern textual criticism; but it is a common theme in this book to go after the low-hanging fruit instead of comparing the TR position to the best of believing, faithful, Confessional CT scholarship.


4)

There’s nearly a page devoted to proclaiming the glories of God, and speaking of things such as infallible truth, divine promises, God as author of Scripture, the divine nature of Scripture in its qualities, etc., with a rhetorical flair that is meant to lead the reader to think the TR position has a monopoly on believing such things.


5)

Author claims that the way the “modern method of textual criticism” deals with variant readings (i.e. “make a rational guess about what a human author is likely to have written and whether it was accurately copied or was corrupted”), is “fundamentally contrary to the biblical doctrine of God and his self-attesting revelation of himself to men.” He cites WCF 1.4 here.

This obviously makes it seem as though the TR is monolithic, with no variants between the manuscripts, and that no human had to ever make a judgment call about any jot or tittle.


6)

In favor of his position, the author claims that “when an error was made in a manuscript [through the centuries], it was discarded.” Meaning, the church kept the manuscript tradition “faithfully preserv[ed].” This is why you can trust the TR.


That’s all I have for that one. I’d love your thoughts on any of those points.

Overall it was full of rhetoric and baseless assertions, never touching upon solid, believing CT scholarship.

I’m really worried the book is going to be largely a collection of essays with a KJVO vibe, dressed in TR garb. I hope I’m wrong.
Thank you for your feedback. That was exactly what the book was intended to do. We hoped to stimulate interaction and thinking through the issues. It's good to remember that these are largely personal testimonies, which of course make claims. I know every man who contributed a chapter would categorically reject KJVO, and many are reformed ministers in reformed denominations that would likely discipline them for holding such a view. Good to keep that in mind as we read, even as the rhetoric flies back and forth.
My chapter, for instance, is just as valid whether you use the Geneva, NKJV, Matthew's, MEV, Jay Green's etc etc, though, it presupposes what I was preaching from at that time, the KJV.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for your feedback. That was exactly what the book was intended to do. We hoped to stimulate interaction and thinking through the issues. It's good to remember that these are largely personal testimonies, which of course make claims. I know every man who contributed a chapter would categorically reject KJVO, and many are reformed ministers in reformed denominations that would likely discipline them for holding such a view. Good to keep that in mind as we read, even as the rhetoric flies back and forth.
My chapter, for instance, is just as valid whether you use the Geneva, NKJV, Matthew's, MEV, Jay Green's etc etc, though, it presupposes what I was preaching from at that time, the KJV.
Sounds good. Even though I disagree with the position, I look forward to the rest of it as I’m merely a novice.
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wonder if one of the book contributors will respond to Mark Ward?

I would respond to Mark Ward but as he doesn't interact with my own contribution in the book I'll leave that to others. I'm actually disappointed with all of the emphasis on the King James Version and not the matter of the authentic/canonical text (TR).

I have yet to be able to respond to anyone offering a critique of the argument from canon that I make, whether from the lectures at the 2019 Text and Canon Conference, or in the initial responses to the short essay I wrote for the book.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I would respond to Mark Ward but as he doesn't interact with my own contribution in the book I'll leave that to others. I'm actually disappointed with all of the emphasis on the King James Version and not the matter of the authentic/canonical text (TR).

I have yet to be able to respond to anyone offering a critique of the argument from canon that I make, whether from the lectures at the 2019 Text and Canon Conference, or in the initial responses to the short essay I wrote for the book.
Do you think any of the essays actually weaken the overall argument of the book when taken as a whole? Especially when it may be someone’s first exposure to the position?
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
Do you think any of the essays actually weaken the overall argument of the book when taken as a whole? Especially when it may be someone’s first exposure to the position?

I have yet to read it. I'm still waiting for my printed copy.

That said, I do think some of the arguments (in general...not commenting on the book) used to lead the argument for the TR can weaken the defense of the position.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I read Brett Mahlen's essay. As Dr. Riddle mentioned at the conference though, the book is more of a devotion/testimonial rather than an apologetic for the TR position.
It seems this is the purpose of the book, not as an apologetic for the TR position.... But it seems like you (@Aspiring Homesteader) are treating it as an apologetic for the TR position. There are many other books that do this...it seems this is not one of them.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I would respond to Mark Ward but as he doesn't interact with my own contribution in the book I'll leave that to others. I'm actually disappointed with all of the emphasis on the King James Version and not the matter of the authentic/canonical text (TR).

I have yet to be able to respond to anyone offering a critique of the argument from canon that I make, whether from the lectures at the 2019 Text and Canon Conference, or in the initial responses to the short essay I wrote for the book.
Agree with this. I keep being told it's not just the KJV but when you actually see what is is practice it almost always is it has to be the KJV and no others. The NKJV (my favorite translation) is attacked almost as bad as the NIV. My suggestion to the editors of future editions would be to reject any essays that are truly KJV only and focus on the true TR proponents. I believe that is a more honest message and helps separate from the unbalanced folks. I personally am not really a fan of the KJV. The language is outdated no matter what someone wants to say. The language is not more holy or anything special. The NKJV also seems to follow the schrievner TR a lot more which appears to be the favored text. The MEV also seems like a good option.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
It seems this is the purpose of the book, not as an apologetic for the TR position.... But it seems like you (@Aspiring Homesteader) are treating it as an apologetic for the TR position. There are many other books that do this...it seems this is not one of them.
What is the best book on the defense of the TR position in your opinion? I would love to get it and read it. I can put it next to the KJV only controversy as the two books to read on the topic. Pastor Mahlen did give me a book called "kept pure in all ages" by Jeffrey Khoo that I plan to read.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
What is the best book on the defense of the TR position in your opinion? I would love to get it and read it. I can put it next to the KJV only controversy as the two books to read on the topic. Pastor Mahlen did give me a book called "kept pure in all ages" by Jeffrey Khoo that I plan to read.
@Robert Truelove would probably be better at answering that as he is much more well read on the subject.

One recently I've read that was good was this: https://www.amazon.com/Westminster-...ments=p_27:Garnet+Howard+Milne&s=books&sr=1-2
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
It seems this is the purpose of the book, not as an apologetic for the TR position.... But it seems like you (@Aspiring Homesteader) are treating it as an apologetic for the TR position. There are many other books that do this...it seems this is not one of them.
That’s fair, and I will read others. But when someone is telling me (via a book) why they preach from the TR, I think it’s fair to “join in the conversation.”

Plus, the book claims to be “An exceptional volume confirming the integrity of the traditional text of the Bible;” “Both persuasive and encouraging.” Etc.

It makes big claims; I think it’s then fair to assess those claims.

Thanks for the reminder though, brother.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
It seems this is the purpose of the book, not as an apologetic for the TR position.... But it seems like you (@Aspiring Homesteader) are treating it as an apologetic for the TR position. There are many other books that do this...it seems this is not one of them.
True enough, but as I pointed out, while it is testimonial in nature, myself and all the other contributors make arguments for the TR in our testimonies as to why we use it, so those arguments can be fairly dealt with as they stand, even if their context is personal testimony. The personal testimonies are really just launching pads for popular level arguments for the TR.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
What is the best book on the defense of the TR position in your opinion? I would love to get it and read it. I can put it next to the KJV only controversy as the two books to read on the topic. Pastor Mahlen did give me a book called "kept pure in all ages" by Jeffrey Khoo that I plan to read.
If you have a copy of the "Why I Preach..." book, there is a pretty hefty bibliography at the back that has numerous references and suggestions.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
True enough, but as I pointed out, while it is testimonial in nature, myself and all the other contributors make arguments for the TR in our testimonies as to why we use it, so those arguments can be fairly dealt with as they stand, even if their context is personal testimony. The personal testimonies are really just launching pads for popular level arguments for the TR.
In your opinion, which essays best represent the correct position?
 
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