Van Kleeck vs White: The Textus Receptus As The Word Of God Is Equal To The New Testament Autographs

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm sure there are lots of outliers who hold other positions as well. I think the issue is that the outliers tend to shout the loudest and since the TR position (or at least the number actively advocating for it) is relatively small, they tend to be hear quite clearly above the rest.
I don’t know if I agree. You don’t see CT-Onlyismor ESV-Onlyism or a Trinitarian Bible Society type of organization pumping out content in that vein, or Independent Fundamental ESV Baptists, etc.
 

NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
I don’t know if I agree. You don’t see CT-Onlyismor ESV-Onlyism or a Trinitarian Bible Society type of organization pumping out content in that vein, or Independent Fundamental ESV Baptists, etc.
Well you only get *that* kind of outlier with regards to the KJV or TR because that kind of view is not nearly as plausible with a translation that's been around for only 20-30 years. The KJV/TR tradition just lends itself to this particular kind of extreme view because it has been in use for so long. There are plenty of people who prefer critical Greek texts outside of the TR who have very odd or idiosyncratic views though. They just get drowned out by the overwhelming number of "normal" mainstream CT adherents.
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don’t know if I agree. You don’t see CT-Onlyismor ESV-Onlyism or a Trinitarian Bible Society type of organization pumping out content in that vein, or Independent Fundamental ESV Baptists, etc.
Because one has a frozen text while the other doesn’t.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I'm very interested in this debate. However, I wish we would move on from James White. I have profited significantly from him over the years, but he can exhibit a somewhat caustic demeanor in his public engagements, especially in the area of these textual discussions. This Facebook post is a case in point. Why this preemptive strike? The problem with these debates is that they end up being point-scoring parties. Is there no one better on the "CT side"?
I think the debates James White did with Jeff Riddle were quite well done. But overall, while James White is who introduced me to Calvinism, I don't listen to much of him anymore. I've listened to some of his recent debates, but his podcast has turned into mostly political ramblings that don't interest me.

I would like to see more of Dan Wallace. In this discussion he does a good job of interacting with KJV onlylists and a TR advocate:
I think Dan Wallace was one of the bright spots in this conversation and he did a very good job representing the CT position. The video overall is a bit... odd. It has too many different views in one. KJV onlyists, defender of Gail Riplinger, a TR advocate, translators from NKJV, NIV, NASB, all in one conversation. Oh, and James White and Dan Wallace were there too. There were some interesting conversations nonetheless.

This debate linked in my last paragraph actually does bring up another interesting point related to the 2nd post in this thread -- which TR. The positions represented included someone who thought the 1611 KJV and someone else who thought 1769 was, with another being the TR (and Art for the Majority Text). Within KJV only circles, the question is usually framed as which KJV is perfect (or preserved or preferred depending on the person). Some say the 1611, some the 1769, some various other revisions. Some even claim the 1900 Pure Cambridge Edition is "the final form" of the KJV.

When it comes to the TR, the conversation is about the Greek texts. Some reject the question and say that we should chose within the TR position, but Van Kleeck unapologetically says Scrivener is the TR which has been preserved. Scrivener went through and tried to make a Greek text that matched the KJV's textual choices. Scrivener identified all of the variants between the 1611 and 1769 editions of the KJV, which he estimated included about 40 textually significant variants*. He actually made his TR "eclectic" in that it included readings from multiple published editions of the KJV. Yes, we are talking about significantly less variants between KJV versions than between TR versions which is less than among the broader manuscript tradition, but in a way, Scrivener does not exactly match any one KJV version with its textual choices.

* You can see a decent summary here: http://www.bible-researcher.com/canon10.html But you're best served by reading this cited work, F.H.A. Scrivener, The Authorized Edition of the English Bible (1611), its subsequent Reprints and modern Representatives. Cambridge: University Press, 1884. to get the details. You can find it on archive.org for free.
 
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Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Well you only get *that* kind of outlier with regards to the KJV or TR because that kind of view is not nearly as plausible with a translation that's been around for only 20-30 years. The KJV/TR tradition just lends itself to this particular kind of extreme view because it has been in use for so long. There are plenty of people who prefer critical Greek texts outside of the TR who have very odd or idiosyncratic views though. They just get drowned out by the overwhelming number of "normal" mainstream CT adherents.
I've heard similar arguments to KJV onlyism by Catholic users of the Douay–Rheims Bible. A native German speaker at my church told me of hearing arguments similar to KJV onlyist arguments for the "old Luther Bible." I've even heard arguments about the 1650 SMV that it is superior to the KJV in its translations and that we need to learn a little Scots to get through the hard parts like "Pure to the pure, froward thou kyth'st unto the froward wight" rather than updating it.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
What is it about the TR/KJV that attracts such odd outliers?

I think there are multiple things that attract people to this position, not just the outliers. Mostly I think it has to do with the perception of certainty.

Web searches are filled with results that will give you "the best printer on the market". Those who are into Linux are constantly looking for "the best" version of Linux. People looking for a translation of Dostoyevsky will often ask the question "which is the best translation". Here on the PB when Calvin's Institutes are discussed, people will agonize over which is "the best" translation. We have this innate and oftentimes subconscious desire for the gold standard.

For others, they are drawn, whether consciously or not, to traditionalism.

For others it's a reaction against something, like liberalism or the plethora of translations.

And for some it is what they grew up with and the idea of "my Bible" not being perfect or being replaced is just unthinkable.

But almost never will any of us stop there. We want deeper reasons than that and I think we try to rationalize our feelings by coming up with something that seems like a good argument. It might even be subconscious. We know we have a good reason, we just have to find it! Like it's "confessional" or it was the view of "all the Reformers", or some philosophical reason why there should be one Bible, or an exegetical latching onto a couple of verses and then feeling like it's the only possible orthodox way to interpret them, or a canonization, or something something something.

It's something we're all prone to. Unfortunately we're also prone to tribalism and I think the TR advocates do their own position a disservice when they embrace all sorts of views (like Van Kleeck) into their tribe. In seeking to fight a "common enemy" they ally themselves with people who make the position seem whacky.

If they want to be taken seriously as a position of integrity and honesty, one good place to start is to police their own "side" and stop remaining silent when loony views are espoused or uncharitable claims are made.
 

Before

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm a bit confused over the title of this thread,
Yes we have the Textus Receptus, ...but the original autographs?
How will there be a comparison with something you don't have?
This debate sounds like it will be full of assumptions.
Or maybe I'm assuming things.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for your responses, gentlemen. As frustrating as this topic often is (and I expect this debate to be frustrating), let us all thank the Lord that he has given us his word, and that he deals so mercifully with wretches like us.
 

Jie-Huli

Puritan Board Freshman
I don’t know if I agree. You don’t see CT-Onlyismor ESV-Onlyism or a Trinitarian Bible Society type of organization pumping out content in that vein, or Independent Fundamental ESV Baptists, etc.
I did not intend to participate in this thread (I know nothing about Mr Van Kleeck), but will say that the Trinitarian Bible Society should certainly not be lumped in with “outliers/oddballs”. You may not agree with it on everything but it is a sound and sober organisation with a long history (founded in 1831). It is supported by a good proportion of reformed churches in the UK (both Presbyterian and Baptist). And I would add a large part of its work is translating the Scriptures into other languages, as well as the distribution of the Scriptures.
 
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Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I did not intend to participate in this thread (I know nothing about Mr Van Kleeck), but will say that the Trinitarian Bible Society should certainly not be lumped in with “outliers/oddballs”. You may not agree with it on everything but it is a sound and sober organisation with a long history (founded in 1831). It is supported by a good proportion of reformed churches in the UK (both Presbyterian and Baptist). And I would add a large part of its work is translating the Scriptures into other languages, as well as the distribution of the Scriptures.
Be that as it may, they still published a pamphlet espousing Confessional Bibliology written by one of the men involved with the “Why I Preach…” book, entitled How The Holy Bible Came To Be.

The pamphlet is CB in bite-size, which position I consider an outlier.

Forgive me for casting a shadow on the good that TBS does.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
This has been a very uncomfortable, sad debate.
Agreed. I'm a bit behind (at Van Kleeck's first(?) round of cross examination of White), but there's a lot of talking past one another as often happens. I am finding Van Kleeck's arguments bizarre and hard to follow, and definitely not the best of the TR camp.
 

Knight

Puritan Board Freshman
Agreed. I'm a bit behind (at Van Kleeck's first(?) round of cross examination of White), but there's a lot of talking past one another as often happens. I am finding Van Kleeck's arguments bizarre and hard to follow, and definitely not the best of the TR camp.

It gets much worse. Very cringe, uncharitable, and plainly strange.
 

Knight

Puritan Board Freshman
Exchanging truth for certainty, indeed.

I caught when White said that. And he does have a point if by "certainty" we are talking about a feeling of assurance that can be false. Prioritizing that sort of feeling above truth would be wrong.

At the same time, I think I understand what primarily motivates the TR-advocates: the desire for assurance of which we can know. That is - and this is just my impression - I think TR-advocates want to have reflective access or to be self-aware regarding what truth they know and ground any claims to assurance on that, not a mere feeling of confidence.

In other words, it's epistemic externalism vs. internalism. The textual debate seems to dance around this pivot without many on either side realizing it.

This is to say nothing for or against the TR specifically, just a general observation about motivations and a recommendation about how both sides should try to frame future discussions.
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Sophomore
I caught when White said that. And he does have a point if by "certainty" we are talking about a feeling of assurance that can be false. Prioritizing that sort of feeling above truth would be wrong.

At the same time, I think I understand what primarily motivates the TR-advocates: the desire for assurance of which we can know. That is - and this is just my impression - I think TR-advocates want to have reflective access or to be self-aware regarding what truth they know and ground any claims to assurance on that, not a mere feeling of confidence.

In other words, it's epistemic externalism vs. internalism. The textual debate seems to dance around this pivot without many on either side realizing it.

This is to say nothing for or against the TR specifically, just a general observation about motivations and a recommendation about how both sides should try to frame future discussions.
One question that helps me frame my thoughts on this issue is: Do you not wonder why Jesus and the Apostles did not clear up textual variant issues of the OT that were around in their time?

Not asking for you or anyone to answer the question above, but at the very least, do you wonder?
 

Knight

Puritan Board Freshman
One question that helps me frame my thoughts on this issue is: Do you not wonder why Jesus and the Apostles did not clear up textual variant issues of the OT that were around in their time?

Not asking for you or anyone to answer the question above, but at the very least, do you wonder?

Sure, I get you. I actually have thought about that. Personally, it's one reason why the whole "text debate" misses me. I think I understand the motivations on either side, but I also think the emphasis on this issue - as if what one's underlying motivations are cannot be met unless we take a certain side in this debate - is misplaced.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
At the same time, I think I understand what primarily motivates the TR-advocates: the desire for assurance of which we can know. That is - and this is just my impression - I think TR-advocates want to have reflective access or to be self-aware regarding what truth they know and ground any claims to assurance on that, not a mere feeling of confidence.
I’m not sure I understand you here.

I have to go back and watch the whole debate. Once I do that, I’ll see if I have any questions.

I’m curious, do the other CB guys consider Dr. VK a solid voice that strengthens their position?
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Well, I listened to the entire thing and mostly it was a waste of time.

White overstated a few things for sure, like the TR being a "very poor representative" of the Byzantine text type. That's a very loose definition of "poor", for the most part. That said, for the most part I would be stunned at anyone thinking that Van Kleeck came out ahead. Van Kleeck was an embarrassing representative, in my opinion and White was absolutely correct to try to reign him in a few times (although to be fair, White also had his share of "preaching" a few times). But sure enough, on Van Kleeck's blog, at least one person has a dramatically different view to mine and thought Van Kleeck "destroyed" White.

I don't see how, especially when after two hours I still am not really comprehending Van Kleeck's views, which baffled me. I was particularly puzzled when he was asked the question about which TR has the autographs was asked and he responded:

"Each TR is an iteration of sanctifying work through the Holy Spirit in God's people, so now it is the TBS TR, because that's where we are now. But if there is no TBS TR, like past folks like Nicea (there is no TR there, but the autographs were there), and so before the TR you've got Beza or Stephanus or Erasmus' TR but that was in time, as soon as you take it out of time, like 'well Erasmus' TR and your TR are different therefore there has got to be a contradiction' I would say no there is not a contradiction, it's that God was working through Erasmus and then Beza and Stephanus and now he has worked through the TBS TR, and so it is an act of sanctification through time, like every other act of Christian sanctification."

Does he know what the word "autographs" mean or is he confusing them with apographs? We exist in time, what are you talking about? How can you have several different texts going through sanctification that all equal the autographs? Do they equal the autographs in every word as he seems to indicate? In authority? This logically makes no sense. If A is not equal to B then A equals C AND B equals C is illogical.

I am also baffled by the "autographs are known by the Spirit speaking through his church" argument. Because it only works one way: it doesn't work for past generations (they obviously got it wrong) and it doesn't work for future generations (if people all switch to the ESV I cannot see Van Kleeck ever conceding that this is the Spirit speaking through his church). It's an absolutely subjective, nebulous criteria. The other thing about this, which Dr White pointed out, is that 99.99% of believers throughout history have had absolutely no clue of the textual differences between one reading and another, so how is their testimony (the Spirit of God speaking through the people of God) of any weight whatsoever? They trust the Bible they have now. Just like people who read the ESV trust their Bible. Is the Spirit speaking through both KJV and ESV readers? Not in Van Kleeck's view, apparently, although there is literally no way one could objectively tell the difference.

The "yes/no" questions Van Kleeck asked White really bothered me. I might have walked out. They were so obviously loaded questions and he wouldn't take nuance for an answer. All he wanted to do was frame a case.

Van Kleeck blaming the sexual degradation of America on not holding to the specific Scriptures as found in the TR was way over the top. Way over.

At the end of the day, Van Kleeck's view is...a view, I guess, but it is entirely divorced from historical reality. It makes an assumption, and then ignores any facts, history, etc. that goes against it. And claims it is "scriptural", "sanctification", "speaking through God's people" but would deny that same process to anything other than his text. How he treated the unique readings in the last six verses of Revelation was very telling (e.g., all the evidence is against it, including commentaries, manuscripts, sermons, etc. but in his view there could have existed some manuscripts somewhere at some time). For him, historical and factual information matters not one iota.

And as I've said before, I am always baffled by the view that seems to see textual criticism in the past as being fine (maybe it's called "believing textual criticism") but any textual criticism today, even by staunch believers like Maurice Robinson, is totally out of the question. It's done. Finished. We know this...how? So Van Kleeck has no issue with Erasmus, Beza, and Stephanus and the KJV translators doing textual criticism to get to the 1894 TR but absolutely stands against any textual criticism that would lead to a future "TR".

Van Kleeck stated that not a single one of his points had been answered and that therefore he had won the debate. His points however were mere statements of dogmatic belief, incapable of either being proven or even disproven. If I came into a debate and say that the sun is blue and the sky is yellow and keep repeating that, my opponent's lack of "rebuttal" doesn't prove anything. Van Kleeck never proved anything and I'm not sure he really even presented anything. He just kept acting exasperated like we should all find it obvious that the Spirit has spoken through the church and that Scrivener's TR is equal to the autographs because of some sanctification process. And then tags on some weird digression about the "ESV and CSB" have "standard" in the name.

I'm not a fan of White but I could at least comprehend him. Van Kleeck just frustrated me.
 

Knight

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, I listened to the entire thing and mostly it was a waste of time.

White overstated a few things for sure, like the TR being a "very poor representative" of the Byzantine text type. That's a very loose definition of "poor", for the most part. That said, for the most part I would be stunned at anyone thinking that Van Kleeck came out ahead. Van Kleeck was an embarrassing representative, in my opinion and White was absolutely correct to try to reign him in a few times (although to be fair, White also had his share of "preaching" a few times). But sure enough, on Van Kleeck's blog, at least one person has a dramatically different view to mine and thought Van Kleeck "destroyed" White.

I don't see how, especially when after two hours I still am not really comprehending Van Kleeck's views, which baffled me. I was particularly puzzled when he was asked the question about which TR has the autographs was asked and he responded:
"Each TR is an iteration of sanctifying work through the Holy Spirit in God's people, so now it is the TBS TR, because that's where we are now. But if there is no TBS TR, like past folks like Nicea (there is no TR there, but the autographs were there), and so before the TR you've got Beza or Stephanus or Erasmus' TR but that was _in time_, as soon as you take it out of time, like 'well Erasmus' TR and your TR are different therefore there has got to be a contradiction' I would say no there is not a contradiction, it's that God was working through Erasmus and then Beza and Stephanus and now he has worked through the TBS TR, and so it is an act of sanctification through time, like every other act of Christian sanctification."

Does he know what the word "autographs" mean? How can you have several different texts going through sanctification that all equal the autographs? Do they equal the autographs in every word as he seems to indicate? In authority? This logically makes no sense. If A is not equal to B then A equals C AND B equals C is illogical.

I am also baffled by the "autographs are known by the Spirit speaking through his church" argument. Because it only works one way: it doesn't work for past generations (they obviously got it wrong) and it doesn't work for future generations (if people all switch to the ESV I cannot see Van Kleeck ever conceding that this is the Spirit speaking through his church). It's an absolutely subjective, nebulous criteria. The other thing about this, which Dr White pointed out, is that 99.99% of believers throughout history have had absolutely no clue of the textual differences between one reading and another, so how is their testimony (the Spirit of God speaking through the people of God) of any weight whatsoever? They trust the Bible they have now. Just like people who read the ESV trust their Bible. Is the Spirit speaking through both KJV and ESV readers? Not in Van Kleeck's view, apparently, although there is literally no way one could objectively tell the difference.

The "yes/no" questions Van Kleeck asked White really bothered me. I might have walked out. They were so obviously loaded questions and he wouldn't take nuance for an answer. All he wanted to do was frame a case.

Van Kleeck blaming the sexual degradation of America on not holding to the specific Scriptures as found in the TR was way over the top. Way over.

At the end of the day, Van Kleeck's view is...a view, I guess, but it is entirely divorced from historical reality. It makes an assumption, and then ignores any facts, history, etc. that goes against it. And claims it is "scriptural", "sanctification", "speaking through God's people" but would deny that same process to anything other than his text. How he treated the unique readings in the last six verses of Revelation was very telling (e.g., all the evidence is against it, including commentaries, manuscripts, sermons, etc. but in his view there could have existed some manuscripts somewhere at some time). For him, historical and factual information matters not one iota.

And as I've said before, I am always baffled by the view that seems to see textual criticism in the past as being fine (maybe it's called "believing textual criticism") but any textual criticism today, even by staunch believers like Maurice Robinson, is totally out of the question. It's done. Finished. We know this...how? So Van Kleeck has no issue with Erasmus, Beza, and Stephanus and the KJV translators doing textual criticism to get to the 1894 TR but absolutely stands against any textual criticism that would lead to a future "TR".

Van Kleeck stated that not a single one of his points had been answered and that therefore he had won the debate. His points however were mere statements of dogmatic belief, incapable of either being proven or even disproven. If I came into a debate and say that the sun is blue and the sky is yellow and keep repeating that, my opponent's lack of "rebuttal" doesn't prove anything. Van Kleeck never proved anything and I'm not sure he really even presented anything. He just kept acting exasperated like we should all find it obvious that the Spirit has spoken through the church and that Scrivener's TR is equal to the autographs because of some sanctification process. And then tags on some weird digression about the "ESV and CSB" have "standard" in the name.

I'm not a fan of White but I could at least comprehend him. Van Kleeck just frustrated me.

You pretty much summarized my own thoughts. The comparison of TR "iterations" to sanctification seems also to be self-defeating. Sanctification is a process with a definitive end, during which we put to death what is earthly or fleshly in us (Romans 8:13, Colossians 3:5). If a specific TR iteration can be involved in an analogous process, what is it that was put to death in prior iterations such that said iterations still can be regarded as "equal" to the autographs?

I only wished White had asked that if textual critical judgments should be, as Van Kleeck argued, "low" in one's decision making process as to what is and is not autographic, what then should be "high" in the decision-making process? This would have forced a more specific response to what was, as you put it, frustratingly nebulous remarks (e.g. "autographs known by the Spirit speaking through his church").
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
These are my thoughts on the debate after I had a few hours to reflect. I didn’t take notes or refer back to the debate to make this summary, so I may have missed a few things as I was doing some chores as I listened. I’ll mostly reflect on Van Kleeck as I had not heard his argument before but was very familiar with White’s style of argumentation here.

Van Kleeck had a strong start to his opening statement. I think the idea that even the minutia of the text is important theologically has merit. The problem for me that was never resolved is that he didn’t have a good connection of how this ties back to the Textus Receptus specifically being equal to the autographs, as he was arguing.

If I reflect on what I know and what James White demonstrated, we end up with a problem. Every minute detail of the text is important to know, but when we look at the historical records, we find that we don’t have 100% confidence about every single letter, word, or even sentence. White demonstrated why we have a lot of confidence, which is great, but if you accept Van Kleeck’s opening theological premise and then are faced with the evidence, you will not have confidence that the Bible is preserved.

I think a closer look at even some of the theologians Van Kleeck quoted to show confidence in every word of the originals would show that they still wrestled with the text and had to make tough decisions. What Van Kleeck failed to show was how do we get from every word of the original is important and preserved to it was preserved in the Textus Receptus. Van Kleeck never completely explained how the TR is the particular text in which this is preserved. It seemed to be primarily through the witness of the church, but he admitted the church had made mistakes in this regard. For example, he admitted the Vulgate was not the TR, but praised Erasmus for referencing the Vulgate in creating the TR because the Vulgate was the (his?) church’s text.

It seemed that Van Kleeck essentially acknowledged Scriviner’s 1894 text as the autographic equal version of the TR. Whenever pressed in textually significantly differences within versions of the TR by White, Van Kleeck would always accept the reading of Scriviner, but he never fully explained why he accepted that reading. He mainly seemed to rely on the idea that the church accepted the readings of Scriviner, but in a sense of which the church was not a council, but every member that makes up the church including laypeople. Prayer seemed important, but not the actual evidence of the manuscripts themselves. I’ve heard arguments, even briefly saw from Van Kleeck himself outside of the debate, of why the 1894 TR over the 1516 or another version. But he never really tried to explain this in the debate, or I missed it. This made it very hard to interact with. At some point he mentioned prayer and White started to interpret him as saying to just pray about variants, which he rejected as a holistic understanding, but I found it very hard to ascertain just how Van Kleeck did want to decide on the readings of the text he used.

The strangest part of the debate to me (among many strange elements) was that Van Kleeck seemed to reject the idea of using historical records as naturalistic or atheistic. I’m trying hard not to misrepresent Van Kleeck, but frankly this was so bizarre I have trouble wrapping my mind around it. I try to represent things in a way that the hearer would also recognize his view, but I’m not sure Van Kleeck would like my summary. I’ll still do my best.

Van Kleeck tried to show that Christians do not use historical data to come to conclusions and we should think differently as Christians. He seemed to want to bring in lots of other disciplines to show that if White was consistent in using the data to determine what readings exist in the manuscripts (not even just what the correct are, just their mere existence) that why did he not accept the findings of a myriad of other disciplines. He even suggested that to be consistent with acknowledging variant manuscript evidence you would need to also mark in the Bible that history did not have evidence for certain historical events contained in the text or that it disagreed with the biological ideas presented in the Bible. When strongly pressed Van Kleeck did acknowledge evidence can be used, but is very low in importance compared to other ways we come to know things as Christians. This is sort of true, but also, I don’t really understand how we are to know and understand things about the world. He left me in the dark.

I’m really not sure how to think of Van Kleeck’s theory of knowledge. It seemed like some sort of presuppositionalism on steroids, where he never even showed why he had the presuppositions he had. He assumed the 1894 TR was the autographs because of the church’s witness, but never explained how and why the church witnessed it, or how it related to former eras of the church. He asserted the TR was had by former eras of the church, despite “mistakes” made in certain eras, but not how the TR was possessed by the church.

Van Kleeck never wanted to interact with a single variant reading, a single bit of Greek, or even the English translations, except to assert that the autographs reflected whatever made it it into the 1894 TR. White tried to discuss many variants and Bible versions, but Van Kleeck seemed to deflect all of this conversation entirely.

There were other strange elements too. Van Kleeck had at the end of his opening statement a version of Bayes' theorem. I was an Economics major and took quite a few statistics courses, but I couldn’t make sense of what point he was trying to make with Bayes’. Van Kleeck referenced quite a few theologians that I don’t think could recognize themselves in his derivative doctrines (e.g., Alvin Plantinga). He seemed to use his academic credentials as a way to show he had heard all of the arguments about textual criticism, from the experts, and they are wrong. It was very dismissive, and surprising approach for someone who studied at Westminster, Calvin, and has an accredited PhD in a relevant field. Finally, he ended the debate with suggesting the lack of an absolutely perfect Word of God (i.e., equal to the autographs) is what is causing the Evangelical Church to apostatize, and if we had perfect certainty about the Bible we would not have issues with LGBT, abortion, doctrine of God, etc. within the visible church.

I won’t say too much about tone, as tone has been debated to death on recent topics. I will say that both participants seemed quite exasperated by the end. It did not seem like a debate in which both participants, as the moderator reminded at the start, were brothers in Christ with the same Confession of Faith (LBCF1689). Van Kleeck to me seemed ready to drive a wedge repeatedly between he and White. Van Kleeck was very dismissive of a lot of questions from the start, but the cross-examination grew long and lost fruitfulness by the end. Both closing statements showed men exasperated from the debate.

I truly think the weakest part of the debate was that even though Van Kleeck had a few interesting points, I was not able to discern a fleshed out enough thesis to respond to. I think White struggled with how to respond to him because of this. Van Kleeck had some new arguments, but at the end of the day it was a unique twist on some arguments I’ve heard and interacted with a lot on the providential place of the TR and the perfect preservation of God’s Word, but the “how” of all of this was largely left unexplained and unanswered.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Sounds like VK was not the TR sides best. Based on what has been said here if I went into this as someone on the fence, I would walk away from this debate more against the TR position. If these are all of the people that continue to get the spotlight in debates, and in books, the people who demonize Christian brothers and sisters by using language like "Satan's Bible", I wouldn't not be surprised to see this movement start to become hated. I know there are lots of good people out there on the TR side, but I think much more needs to be done to rebuke the bad ones and rain in those running around with these terrible arguments and inability to communicate their position.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I think we’re in a sad day of declension in the visible church, where almost anyone can presume to take up a mantle that really belongs to ordained men recognized by the church as fit for the purpose of the moment, such as the men sent from the Scottish church to Westminster. “Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.” (Psalm 80:14-15)
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I think we’re in a sad day of declension in the visible church, where almost anyone can presume to take up a mantle that really belongs to ordained men recognized by the church as fit for the purpose of the moment, such as the men sent from the Scottish church to Westminster. “Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.” (Psalm 80:14-15)
You may be right, but lamenting this type of thing will not be enough. Action needs to be taken. Perhaps some of the ordained men in the movement can start to crack down on the outliers and create some sort of organization and official spokesmen.
 
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