Why do KJ Only types believe the Westcott and Hort manuscripts are bad?

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by CDM, Jun 29, 2006.

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  1. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    I would be grateful if you found you had, and sent to me, an electronic copy of Edward Freer Hills´ Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesiastical Text!

    Actually, as Chris M. & Chris P. said, the holywordcafe site is not shut down, as I discovered today when I visited a friend with a different ISP and found I could access it. I downloaded all the stuff there I wanted and took it home on a disc.

    But that book, Ted, I find is nowhere available even for sale nowadays. I would sure love to see it!

    When I saw his Ecclesiastical Text was for sale on eBay for $5 I was determined to get it (it is selling for $100+ on the web), so I stayed up late, saw I had a serious rival bidder, and about 15 seconds before the auction ended posted my bid of as much as I could afford. I ended up having to pay only $8.06 + postage! My old eBay tricks came in handy. I look forward to reading it when it comes, and his stuff I downloaded today.

    I think it important to be familiar with the views of such a man, who I gather was at least in the same league as E.F. Hills, for the defense of the KJV & TR, which I am set for. It is also important to me to learn as much as I can about Hills, especially from such a man as Letis. It must have been a great thing to personally know him.

    Thanks for anything you can do.

  2. Maestroh

    Maestroh Puritan Board Freshman


    I'm hoping to be back here and post this weekend. You referenced the Fee article; I happen to have it. It is in the "Studies And Documents," Number 45 (if I recall) published in 1993 by Epp/Fee.

    I can copy it and mail it if you'd like.

    I appreciate the exchange of information.

  3. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    I much appreciate the offer. I'll send you my address, and if you send me yours I'll ship the Bruggen book off to you, if you'd care for it (and don't have it -- I realize you must have a lot of TC books). I think the Fee article is important, if only to shed light on Origen and the state of the Alexandrian MSS, and P66 & P75's parts in that.

    Re the material of James White in his book, The King James Only Controversy you said you'd be willing to share with me, I desire to know specifically what he was referring to when he stated (on one of our threads or on his own site responding to something here),

    <blockquote>"œthe consistent application of their [i.e., 1 Jn 5:7 supporters] arguments would demand the utter overthrow of the TR as a Greek text of the New Testament. As I pointed out in my comments in The King James Only Controversy, there are all sorts of readings with similar manuscript support to the Comma that would, by logical necessity, have to be inserted into the TR."</blockquote>

    It is his "œcomments in The King James Only Controversy" on particular "readings with similar MSS support" I wished to learn of so I might interact with him. I have already found some instances he may be referring to, but wish to hear his examples.

    I do not want to be oblivious to the text critical work being done, but rather interact with it, even if I do not approach the data in the same manner others do.

    I suppose, Bill, what I hope to do -- specifically with regard to you -- is demonstrate that there is a "believing" approach to the Biblical texts -- as opposed to the naturalistic one -- which is intellectually respectable and warrants trust, although I am under no delusions all will believe, even devout Christians.

  4. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior


    Is your .pdf document, To Break a Sword complete? I noticed it reads (rough). Do you mean it is unedited?
  5. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    It means that it is subject to revisions and additions, which surely shall be the case after the wealth of new information -- as well as corrections in my views -- resulting from this discussion. I see what is happening here as a "minor league" kind of "peer review," where what I assert is scrutinized and critiqued. To me this is immensely valuable. Especially as I have been living in a foreign land the past four years and have been out of touch with recent publications.

    Nonetheless, the core of my position is already in TBAS; there will be some omissions, additions, and revisions, but not to a great extent. I also want to get hold of as much of Letis' work as I can, and have that reflected in the piece. I hope this answers your question.


    [Edited on 7-28-2006 by Jerusalem Blade]
  6. Tallen

    Tallen Puritan Board Freshman


    I am still looking, I literally have hundreds and hundreds of emails from Letis. We had discussed everything from Biblical texts to the Antichrist, from my Reformed Theology as opposed to his Lutheran Theology, he always challenged me.

    He told me, I believe it was the day before he died, that he felt he had accomplished the goal of his calling and it was fulfilled. That being carrying the torch where Burgeon and Hills left it to where he was at. He said he wouldn't mind going home to be with the Lord except for his love for his family. A few days later I heard that he had been killed in an auto wreck. The conversation struck me.

    BTW, he really wasn't a defender of the KJV as being the best translation available, and thought it would be good to have a modern translation based upon the "Ecclesiastical Text". What he did defend was the text that the KJV was translated from, and thought that Luther, Calvin, Beza and the King James Translators handed to the church the proper and historical method of translation. His belief was that God preserved the infallible message of the text through faithful men and used His people in that process. The result is that the language that the text are translated into, because the highest standards of the language will be held, result in the language becoming a "religious language" specific for the use of the church. Thus there is a Theology that is used in translation, and that being that the highest standards will be used because translation is a ministry and calling of the Lord. If one adopts the philosophy that the translation should be directed at demographics for the purpose of marketing, then the theology will be lost and the consumer becomes what determines the infallible word of God.

    Hope that makes sense.

  7. Tallen

    Tallen Puritan Board Freshman

    Steve, Bill and others participating in this discussion, going through the emails and exchanges that I had with Dr. Letis I came accross this, which I thought would be a good input here on the subject.

    Remember this is Ted's opinion. I edited out some personal detail and started where he addresses matters in his profession. Please check out the link to Maurice Robinson's article as well, I have come to appreciate him more and more.

    I wrote:

    "Ted, I haven't read this yet but came across this. Are you familiar with him? Am I wasting my time?


    Ted Clore"

    This exchange later got post in part in another forum. The above link is to a Daniel Wallace article. Since I wasn't familiar with him I asked if Ted was familiar with him. I talked to him on the phone about Wallace, and he had some good things to say about the man and said he respected him very much. He wasn't a fan of Wallace, but he wasn't and enemy either.

    Dr. Letis' response:


    To begin, let me just say that dependence on Wallace is surely leaning a hand on a broken reed. He is an amateur at best, and a serious propagandist at worst. The tabulations for the differences between the various editions of the TR and the published Majority Text editions can be found elsewhere. I would not trust what he says. Take note of his comments about my own position, as I have noted them elsewhere (Preface to the current edition of my book, The Majority Text), as well as my public assessment of him:

    "An ill-informed assessment of this book in its first edition by fundamentalist, Daniel B. Wallace, "œThe Majority Text Theory: History, Methods and Critique," in Bart Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, eds., The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research:: Essays on the Status Quaestionis (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1995). For a full refutation of this see my "œThe Ecclesiastical Text Redivivus?" in The Ecclesiastical Text, pp. 140-145"¦. Daniel Wallace wrote a very confused and misapprehending review with little interest at attending to the actual argumentation and perspective of the work, Bibliotheca Sacra vol. 145, no. 580 (October-December 1988): 469-470. It has been my experience that fundamentalists work with very limited categories and so tend to paint with rather broad brushes when addressing this issue. As I said of his contributions to this discussion in another work, The Ecclesiastical Text: Text Criticism, Biblical Authority and the Popular Mind 2nd ed. (Philadelphia, 2000), p. 145, "œIn short, Wallace´s own unacknowledged predisposition as an American fundamentalist leave him less than capable of accurately assessing the various schools advocating the Ecclesiastical text. What is required is someone trained more in the scientific study of religion and with a genuine pedigree as a text critic and less oriented by one´s own unacknowledged sense of advocacy."
    Moreover, Maurice Robinson has also underscored Wallace´s failures, here:


    Hence, if you will confine your sources to those actually in the guild, we can have a common playing field.


    Please do not think me condescending in any way when I ask you to read Metzger´s excellent, The Text of the New Testament pp. 95-124. Here you will see that he does what all text critics do; he acknowledges that the age before the Enlightenment is "œpre-critical." That is, those who worked in N.T. studies knew there was much textual variation but they had no scheme by which to organize the data. When you use modern critical categories, and then project them back onto Erasmus, you commit a grave sin in historiography. It is ironic that you fall into this trap, because this is one of my favorite themes, which I brought before the International Meeting of the N.T. Text Criticism Section of the Society of Biblical Literature a few years back in Berlin. Here is the abstract of my lecture:

    Theodore P. Letis

    "Teaching New Testament Text Criticism: The Necessary Backdrop of an Intellectual History of the Discipline"

    Eldon J. Epp observed in 1989 that, "History, theory, and practice are interwoven in most realms of human knowledge, yet students approaching a field often care little about its history; they are concerned with its application and how the discipline is practiced." He then went on to stress that this is particularly so within the discipline of New Testament text criticism. This presentation addresses the value of a comprehensive grasp of the intellectual history and development of the discipline for understanding the evolution of contemporary canons of criticism. Moreover, it will treat in historical survey various historically conditioned ideologies that have informed the development of the discipline. This will be accomplished by citing concrete examples of incomplete, or inaccurate historical treatments as found in the various handbooks. In short, an historical consciousness about the various stages of the discipline will be shown to be indispensable for understanding all aspects of the contemporary praxis. On the other hand, the absence of such historical awareness presents students with the sole and necessary option of a near unquestioning dogmatic application of canons without a sense of their historical genesis, and therefore, their ultimate significance.

    What Erasmus was doing bears no resemblance to what W&H were doing"¦


    Erasmus was convinced that the Vulgata Latina had been purposefully corrupted by the Roman Church. Because of his fondness of the Greek fathers (Erasmus was the supreme patristics scholar of his day, par excellence), he believed the Greek Church had both escaped the corruption of Latin medievalism (theologically), as well as preserved the purest form of the Greek New Testament"”the Ecclesiastical (Byzantine) text. Hence, when he knew of several important readings from Vaticanus (though it was not called "œVaticanus" at the time), he rejected them because of their affinity with readings found in the Vulgata Latina. Hence, theology played a very key role in his decision to accept the recension of the Greek Church, over all other options (i.e., the Vulgata, or the Egyptian text, as he knew it from B). This was the pre-critical world. The same is true of Beza, who had access to Codex D but rejected it because it differed from the Ecclesiastical Text of the Greek Church. There were no "œtext-types" for either man; there was the Vulgata Latina and there was the Ecclesiastical Text. Everything else was merely an eccentricity to be avoided"”accept by the Unitarians, who seemed to like these aberrant texts. Do read my chapter in The Majority Text, "œTheodore Beza as Text Critic: A View into the 16th Century Approach to New Testament Text Criticism."

    As for why Erasmus produced five editions (not three), it was to clear up many of the typos from the first edition"”many of which were Froben´s fault rather than Erasmus; sometimes it was because he added the Vulgata Latina; sometimes he did not. Sometimes he enlarged his annotationes. Never, however, did he depart from the Ecclesiastical Text recension as his definitive text (the few readings from the Latin excepted). His revisions are not to be compared with the modern critical editions changing as the dominant theories of the day went from a "œneutral" text priority, to a "œconsensus" text priority, to today´s eclecticism, both rigorous and reasoned. This final method has abandoned both the possibility of tracing the "how" of the transmitted text, and has succeeded in producing a text which is purely theoretical, not matching anyone manuscript even in an approximate way, ever discovered, by anyone. It is truly a "œscholars" creation. Erasmus, at least, had chosen in his pre-critical world, a text that had the sanction of continuous use within the Greek Orthodox Church from the era of Nicaea, to this very hour.


    While Wallace, White, and other Fundamentalists remain in the so-called critical school of text criticism, others have moved on to a post-critical stance (as a result of the failures of the "œcritical" school). This started independently with the work of Edward F. Hills (in 1956). It continues, again independently, with Eldon J. Epp ; and with Brevard Childs ; and finally with my stuff. There is not complete agreement with anyone of these post-critical options, but they do all agree in accepting as their premise the failure of the "œcritical" approach to reconstruct the "œoriginal" text. Hills, Childs, and I all have returned to the Ecclesiastical Text in a post-critical way." Theodore P. Letis
  8. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Ted, I wonder if you realize (surely you do) what a wealth of edifying material you possess having so much of Ted Letis´ material via emails. Have you ever thought of compiling and publishing it, even if only in electronic form?

    While I am waiting for Bill to return to the thread I´d like to reflect a little more on the things we have been discussing.

    I mentioned a while ago the merits of a little book by Jakob Van Bruggen, The Ancient Text of the New Testament, and gave a link to where it might be obtained. I have since learned that not only is it no longer in print, but, as a rare book, fetches quite a neat sum when it is available: $185 to $237 (this latter Canadian; USD = $210) at the only two places it is currently for sale:



    Since my original mention I have learned the entire book is available online: http://web.archive.org/web/20030428225220/www.thescripturealone.com/VanBrug.html

    I would strongly suggest saving this entire (small) book by downloading it into your computer. One never knows how long either books or websites will last, and this work has great value.

    I am also selling an extra copy I have (brand new) for $100 USD + postage. See the PB forum, "œLet´s do business; For Sale!" for more info. Or contact me.

    But about Bruggen´s book. It is, in all its 40 pages of fine print, primarily a close look at the phenomenon of intense disrespect shown to the Byzantine / Ecclesiastical / Traditional / Antiochian / Syrian / Majority textual tradition (it is known by many names), and the virtual certitude most textual scholars "“ and from the trickle-down effect, many lay people "“ have regarding the supposed inferiority of this overwhelming majority of extant Greek MSS.

    Bruggen examines the presuppositions underlying 20th century text criticism, initially Professor Hort´s theory of the "œneutral text" derived from B and a, and even when that has been shown by subsequent textual discoveries and closer investigation to be an untenable theory, the continued disapprobation remains everywhere, from Sunday school classes to seminaries.

    His first chapter is titled, "œThe Last Certainty of New Testament Textual Criticism", which he shows to be simply the negative judgment passed upon the Majority or Byzantine textual tradition. That is the only so-called certainty in the discipline. As regards the New Testament text positively, uncertainty characterizes the discipline throughout. There is no consensus about what constitutes the true text, only skepticism, with no real hope in sight.

    Bruggen remarks,

    <blockquote> This friction between certainty and uncertainty in modern New Testament textual criticism gives occasion to ask what reasons are given for rejecting the Byzantine or Church text, which has been used for so many centuries. After a century of less encouraging experiences on a new road, it is useful to look back to the intersection at which one turned off from an old road. In science the investigation of the arguments should always receive a legitimate place. True science does not depend on the authority of a few experts or the tradition of generations. Even though it is apparently sufficient for many exegetes to note that "most scholars" or "modern textual criticism" reject the church text, we must agree with the modern textual criticism that the majority in itself is not decisive. Not the majority of manuscripts, but the weight decides. That also applies in a different way: not the majority of scholars in a particular century, but the weight of their arguments decides. In this case it is particularly important to test the arguments, because here the translation and explanation of God's Word is at stake(22). Translators of the Bible and exegetes will notice the consequences of their choice in favour of a certain text"‘edition(23). Translator and exegete deal with the how of translation and exegesis, but the text"‘edition decides what is to be translated and explained. Here respect for the Word of our God compels us to be very careful. We must be able to account for our treatment of the text that has been handed down to us. There is a scientific and a religious duty to ask the question whether the ancient text of the New Testament is not found in the majority of the manuscripts and whether the church has failed to follow the truly ancient text for many centuries.

    A critical investigation of the reasons for rejecting the Byzantine text soon encounters the difficulty that this rejection is accepted as a fact in the 20th century, but not defended as a proposition. For the argumentation one is usually just referred to the work of Hort in the 19th century. Yet various arguments of Hort are no longer generally accepted today. [All emphases Bruggen´s]</blockquote>

    After he concisely lists Hort´s three basic premises, he moves on, in his 2nd chapter, to briefly review the first of them in light of current textual criticism. This is the issue of "œThe Value of the Number of Manuscripts"; and after examining the theory of the Lucian recension, ascertaining the lack of historicity for such a view, states,

    <blockquote>Although the name of Lucianus is mentioned less and less as the historical starting"‘point, people in the 20th century maintain with undiminished certainty that there was a recension in the 4th century. This is striking. Closer examination of the Byzantine tradition has shown, in the period after Hort, that several tendencies can be pointed out in this tradition. Von Soden distinguished various layers in these Koine manuscripts(39). It proved to be impossible to describe the layers as a variation arising within a group of manuscripts, which in fact all go back to one archetype. That there is much agreement between all these manuscripts does not mean that they all come from one and the same source. The later research"‘work done by Lake and Colwell did change the picture given by Von Soden, but at the same time it has shown even more clearly that it is better to describe the Byzantine textual tradition as a collection of converging textual traditions than as a varying reproduction of one archetype(40). This fact now prevents us from thinking of one recension as the source for the text that is found in the majority of the manuscripts. No matter how one judges about the value of the growing consensus in the textual tradition, one can not simply reduce the large majority of manuscripts to one vote and then only a secondary vote. To say it differently and more technically: it is impossible to treat the majority of the manuscripts during the evaluation of them as though they textually formed one family (41). We do not deny that small family groups can be distinguished within this majority, just as families can also be determined in other text"‘types and with the versions. Yet even if the numbers of the different family groups are deducted from the majority of manuscripts, then the Byzantine text still keeps an important majority.

    That no importance is attached to this majority as such in modern textual criticism is not only connected with the recension"‘idea, but especially with the opinion one has concerning the age and character of the Byzantine type. In the reasoning of Hort the arguments regarding age and character also had priority. Only later did Hort begin to think of a recension, possibly by Lucianus. Therefore, in the position of those who reject the Byzantine text, few problems seem to arise if the idea of a recension eventually has to be given up. Whether there was a recension or not, the traditional text still remains just as inferior. Before we deal with these primary arguments in more detail, we must, however, note that the abandonment of the recension"‘idea does weaken the modern view on the old Church"‘text. For if it is indeed true that this text has a secondary character, how then can it be accounted for historically that this secondary text received general approval? Hort had an answer to this question at hand: one man made a defective recension due to wrong methods and the Church followed this in good faith. But if this one man (e.g. Lucianus) falls away and also that one recension (e.g. in the 4th century), how can we explain the fact that the tradition is influenced in a negative sense and that this influence promoted convergence and uniformity. When a text is exposed to gradual deterioration through faults in transmission, it always leads to divergency between various forms of text"‘corruption and to plurality in the types of degeneration. But history faces us with a tradition which has a convergent character. How can this be accounted for, if the tradition is thought to have deviated from the original and there is no clear revisor's hand in the picture after all? This difficult question can be answered historically, as long as the tradition of the text is not described as secondary. The different centres of production in the 4th and following centuries aimed at a most faithful copy of the original or at a good restoration of the original text. Therefore, after the first centuries of persecution and dearth, a number of traditions automatically appeared which went back to the good text and came close to each other because they all orientated themselves on the most faithful copy of the original. The similar motive explains the trend towards an identical text. Yet how is one to explain that various centres of production, independent of each other, show the same deviations? To say that government intervention caused this similarity in deviation has no historical grounds(42). If you wish the uniforming influence of the liturgy to explain this, then you are only transferring the problem into a different field.

    Summarizing we can say that the large number of manuscripts wherein the traditional or Church text occurs, must carry weight. This striking number can not be disqualified with an appeal to Hieronymus' statements about Lucianus of Antioch. It also can not be put aside as meaningless, as though it is to be traced back to one archetype in the 4th century. On the contrary, the large number deserves attention, since, in the midst of all sorts of variation, it confronts us with a growing uniformity. This can hardly be described historically as spontaneous converging deviation. It rather points in the direction of a simultaneous turning"‘back in various centres to the same central point of the original text. This text was sought in the oldest and most faithful manuscripts, and people conformed to it after centuries of textual disintegration.</blockquote>

    The scholarly and dispassionate manner of his discourse may easily be discerned. After chapters discussing the age and the nature of the Byzantine Type, he summarizes in his final chapter, "œRehabilitation of the Ancient Text":

    <blockquote>In the textual criticism of the 20th century, the rejection of the well-known traditional or Byzantine text predominates. That text is even ruled out completely and in advance by the selection"‘process at Munster. The arguments against this text originate from the 19th century. People are still using them, but without sufficient reason. In fact, much that was raised against this text has crumpled up. The genealogical method is losing ground. Papyri are shown to contain unexpected Byzantine readings. The arguments against this Byzantine text are still less decisive than in the 19th century.

    There is, therefore, every reason to rehabilitate the Church text again. It has already been accepted for centuries and centuries by the Greek Church as the ancient and correct text. Its right does not have to be proven. The person who thinks he knows better than those who preserved and transmitted the text in the past should come along with proof. The churches of the great Reformation deliberately adopted this ancient text when they took the Greek text as starting"‘point again(87). This text deserves to remain recognized as reliable, unless real contra"‘proof can be given from a recovered better text. However, there are no better texts. There are theories about a better text and there are reconstructions of such a text, but they can not conceal the fact that, over against the rejection of the ancient, well"‘known text in the 20th century, only the embarrassment of eclecticism and of a renewed conjectural criticism(88) is left over. Over against this modern textual criticism, we plead for rehabilitation of the ancient and well"‘known text. This means that we do not dismiss this text which is found in a large majority of the textual witnesses and which underlies all the time"‘honoured Bible translations of the past, but prize and use it(88).

    Bringing the well"‘known, but rejected Byzantine text into use again leads to a totally different scope of the textual criticism. It will, in a reformatory sense, set itself the task of preserving this text. Here an appeal can be made to the often unjustly"‘forgotten work of scholars such as Nolan(90), Reiche(91), Scrivener(92), Burgon(93), Birks(94) and Miller(95), who at the time confronted themselves with the theories of Griesbach, Lachmann and Westcott"‘Hort. Association with the Byzantine text which was also defended by them implies, in the line of the history, first of all an association with and an emendation of the textus receptus, the printed Greek text from the time of the Reformation. Pleading for the return to the known Church text certainly does not mean that this textus receptus must be canonized. But this pleading does recognize the justice of the principle behind these text"‘editions of the Reformation. The textus receptus should not be rejected categorically because of its shortcomings, but should according to its own design and intention be corrected conformable to the so"‘called Byzantine text. This leads to a positively orientated textual criticism, which focuses its attention on all the material handed down, without discrimination.

    Association with the text that has been transmitted for such a long time also demands protection of that text. Preservation of manuscripts should be stimulated. The theories of textual criticism, which oppose this text, must also be analysed. Those who wish to hold the well"‘known text in honour in the 20th century may not overlook the modern text"‘editions, the product of recent theories. The examination of the modern textual criticism and the readings it defends should, however, not stand in the service of an eclecticism whereby the Byzantine text is only accepted as one of the sources for optional"‘readings(96). Eclecticism is always a subjective matter and only creates new mixed texts. The criteria of eclecticism also contradict each other(97). Now that considerable agreement concerning the text exists in the broad stream of the text"‘tradition, there is no need to resort to eclecticism. Copies of a corrupt text"‘form in the 2nd century, accidentally saved, would then receive a place equal to that of copies from many other centuries which are generally accepted as faithful copies. With this we do not exclude in advance every thought of an emendation of the Byzantine text. But that emendation may only take place if it can be demonstrated clearly to everyone that the Church had lost a good reading or had exchanged it for a bad reading, and why. In principle such an argumentation on the ground of external evidence must remain possible, but in practise it is almost impossible in the present situation because we only have little and fragmentary textual and historical material from the first centuries. We should guard against wanting to do the work of the fourth and following centuries over again, with less and worse material than people at the time had at their disposal!

    The rehabilitation of the received text should, in the churches of the Reformation, result in putting this text into use again, and that first of all for the Bible"‘translation. Translations which go back to the Byzantine text do not need to be old translations(98). They may even on the mission fields be very new. But the newest translation should still give access to the text of the Church of the ages and not to the text of five learned contemporaries in the 20th century(99). The Greek New Testament of the United Bible Societies should as basis for translations of the New Testament be exchanged for an edition of the textus receptus, possibly in an emended form. Also the exegesis should turn back to this text. Thus the way to commentaries from many centuries, which all confidently explained this Church text, is again opened. Contact and fellowship with the history of the exegesis is essential for the explanation of Scripture in the 20th century. During a theological training the student must be made acquainted with both the edition of Nestle and the textus receptus. Yet in the exegesis he does not have to give up his faith in the traditional text because of a recent edition, even though it be frequently used. That Church text, and a good edition of it, should form the basis and the material for the exegesis.

    This pleading for rehabilitation of the well"‘known text, however, runs up against the difficulty that a text"‘edition of this text is no longer provided for and that the text of centuries and centuries can often only be obtained second"‘hand. In this situation it is not permitted to wait for a republication of the textus receptus until it can be offered in a still somewhat improved edition. An edition of the traditional text, as this was printed in the time of the Reformation, must first of all again be obtainably as soon as possible. The return to the Church text also in Bible"‘translation and exegesis can not be effectuated until such an edition is again available. In connection with this we can mention with thankfulness the initiative which the Trinitarian Bible Society has taken to republish the Greek text that was followed in the Authorized Version. For this purpose they associate themselves with an edition of this text that Scrivener at the time took care of (100). This text deviates from the text of Beza's Greek New Testament only to a low degree and can be described as a variant of the textus receptus or of the Stephanus"‘edition 1550. Thanks to this edition there is now, over against the edition of the United Bible Societies which purposefully abandons the traditional text, also a Greek text available which deliberately wishes to follow that text.

    Perhaps it is possible in the future that a revised new edition of Scrivener's Editio Maior(101) appears besides this text"‘edition: also the opponents of the Byzantine text will admit that it is desirable for scientific study to possess a text"‘edition, wherein one can accurately and instantly see where modern text"‘editions, including Nestle, deviate from the textus receptus. It would be advisable to offer a textual commentary with this new edition. This commentary could indicate at what points the textus receptus may be labelled as a deviation from the Byzantine text and at what points different readings occur within the Byzantine tradition itself (102).

    The indication of these different readings can take place even before the number of witnesses for each individual variant reading has been completely determined. It will be a laborious and costly undertaking to determine that number and to provide a complete textual critical apparatus with the traditional text. One could consider whether it is not possible to determine the weight of variant readings in this traditional text in more detail, only in those cases in which the variant reading can be relevant for translation and exegesis. The number of such variant readings is only a small section of the total orthographical, lexical, syntactical or grammatical variations.

    There is plenty of work for Reformed textual criticism. She, however, directs her attention to defining a conviction and does not lose herself, like the modern textual criticism, in a quest for the unknown. How many people will still wish to present themselves in the 20th century for this work on the preservation of the text of the New Testament? How many will still have interest in this work? This question can not easily be answered by people. We can only conclude with the absolute certainty, that the ancient text of God's inspired Word both now and in the future will remain an object of God's special care. This certainty creates for us the obligation to treat the text that has been handed down to us with great care. This obligation lies in the confession of the Reformation (Westminster Confession chapter 1, 8):

    <blockquote>"œThe Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native Language of the People of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of writing of it was most generally known to the Nations), being immediately, inspired by God, and by his singular Care and Providence kept pure in all Ages, are therefore authentical: so as in all Controversies of Religion, the Church is finally to appeal into them."</blockquote></blockquote>


    [Note: the footnotes are available on the online version of the book.]

    It should be clearly understood that Dr. Bruggen was not a "œKing James Only" advocate, notwithstanding his hearty approval (see just above) of the 1894 TR printed by the TBS, but rather a Majority Text advocate, quite close to the position of Maurice Robinson (according to Robinson himself).

    The MT folks, although they are perhaps the more scholarly (I have not received my Theodore Letis books as of this writing) than most of the KJO people, are, in my estimation, family (however much some of them may seek to disown me!). While I take great pleasure in lauding the work of the MT position, I go a step further, as did E.F. Hills, and Dr.Letis himself. As I have stated elsewhere here,

    <blockquote>I do not need an expert to tell me what to believe. If I choose to hold to the views of a teacher in this field because his teaching exemplifies what I have already been taught in Scripture, I do no dishonor to the field of textual scholarship. I will not be under the "œtyranny of experts" as regards my faith, whether it concerns the Person of my Lord, or His word, which is just as supernatural a phenomenon as He Himself is.</blockquote>

  9. Maestroh

    Maestroh Puritan Board Freshman


    A tough criticism is one thing; circulating an attack - and how else can you characterize the tabloid title "Dallas Seminary Professor Denies Inspiration" - to people, NOT asking that Christian brother for any clarification, and then continuing it eight years after you've been proven wrong is not apologetics; it is nothing less than slander.

    It isn't even that it was Wallace that bothers me; he has done it on other occasions as I said.

    Yes, it IS well known that Martin is not a Hortian and that he is not KJV Only as well. If interested in an ACTUAL representation of Martin's views, why did Cloud not make this clear? The 'everyone knows this' excuse doesn't cut it when everyone simply doesn't know it. You sir, are CLEARLY WELL READ on the issue - I disagree with you but I do not hate you and I do not deny that it is clear you have read up on it (your concession to change on the Cassidy point increased my respect for you as well, brother). So YOU know it; but the average guy does not know it. And I suspect that Cloud has NEVER REALLY READ Martin's thesis anyway. It was in "Which Bible," one of the books (and authors) Cloud lists as his influences toward KJV Onlyism.

    You add Burgon; funny to me how Cloud minimizes the differences Burgon had with the TR - never addressing, of course, the obvious fact that if Burgon thought the TR needed change (which he did - although by 'different principles' than WH) - then Burgon didn't hold the TR to be the 'pure, unadulterated Word of God' that had no corruption.

    I would appreciate you not making an unfounded accusation - that I am not a dispassionate investigator or don't like the man. And I can't help but wonder if this is an attempt to play to the crowd - you're talking about what I said about Cloud here and those reading, of course, have no way of knowing exactlywhat I said.

    For example, why did you not reference this part that I wrote?

    You asked me about David Cloud on the board. I do not want to post a long list of what would be dismissed as an attack. It opens me up to accusation of ad hominem, and I do not want to be standing there. But before I critique some problems I have with Cloud, let me point out that he has done some very good work and has some rather interesting articles about Roman Catholicism as well as Pentecostalism. While I do not agree with every word he writes even about these systems, he often demonstrates an ability to clarify some doctrinal issues. He has also been one of the few KJV Only advocates to outspokenly denounce Peter Ruckman ("œthe KJV is advanced revelation") and Gail Riplinger (found at this link: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/graphic1designer/writings/kjo/dcongar.html

    And also THIS link: http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/newage.htm

    In other words, there ARE instances where Cloud seems willing to buck the trend including his recent expose on Bob Gray, a KJV Only pastor who was arrested on pedophilia charges going back to 1949 (numerous allegations). So this is not to paint with a broad brush.


    It is hardly fair, Steve, for you to say I don't like the guy when I made perfectly clear what it was I didn't like - deception and double standards. Yet anyone not privy to what I would rather have not discussed here would say, "He hates Cloud because Cloud is KJVO" - which is not at all true. I don't hate David Cloud at all - but will we have a discussion or try to 'score points' as if this is a debate? I'm hoping the former.

    Okay, let me clarify. I concede the flaw was mine in how I presented it. It was I (NOT LETIS) who asked how Hills had such a fast turnabout regarding his alleged views on TC. 'Reprehensible?' Hardly.

    Sir, why was it okay for David Cloud to slander Daniel Wallace, but it is somehow 'reprehensible' for me to say what I did regarding Hills? Letis discusses this some at length (I will be mailing the thesis sometime the week after next). Hills refers to this as his 'great lapse.' Letis further argues (p. 150) that Hills realized at Chicago that unless one accepted the dogma of a late date for the Byzantine text type, he could never gain credibility with the textual critical guild.

    Letis further writes, "...role theory might well explain how Hills could conform to the expected posture while at Harvard, since to succeed in text critical studies there he had to assume the role of one unconcerned with the Calvinistic, scholastic view of the text and begin at the assumption of viewing the Ecclesiastical text as late and nearly worthless, something most text critics believed from 1881 on. Whatever his compromises, by 1952, Hills was ready to return full circle to his historic Reformed roots and affirm with the Westminster Confession, the priority of the Textus Receptus." (This is quite an interesting comment - since I don't ever recall the WCF saying 'the TR is it.' - Bill).

    Hills certainly possessed a doctorate. But a bad argument is a bad argument whether it's a third grader or a Ph.D. making it - and when Hills claims 'God must,' he is on quicksand in terms of telling us how 'God must' preserve His Word.

    Another word though we'll interact more with it: I would have LESS PROBLEM with Hills if he had ACTUALLY FOLLOWED his mantras for textual criticism - if he had simply stuck with 'majority rules.' But as James Price - who worked on the NKJV that is based on the TR noted - Hills ran into a problem with his principles and it was this: "..in relation to textual criticism, that system must explain the realities of the manuscript evidence. It was precisely at this point that Hills´ system broke down. His system simply did not explain the facts as they existed in the manuscripts." (James Price essay located at: http://www.kjvonly.org/other/japrice_hills_pr.htm)

    But hardly similar. I'll let you read the thesis before I comment further.

    Bill, you have stated a few times that you do not have a particular stake in a particular point of view at this time. May I ask, what is it that "“ in this interim period "“ you do hold to as regards the state of the Biblical text? You are full of many doubtful questions as regards the KJO and the 1894 TR position, which I do respect; but on the positive side, do you believe we have an inerrant Bible which is trustworthy? Or with many of the MT folks, do you believe we sort of have a Biblical text, though it is not now "“ and may never in our lifetimes be "“ settled?


    A good question, my brother, and one I am more than happy to answer. I believe the Bible given originally without error and is ACCURATELY preserved in the abundance of copies in the Alexandrian, Caesarean, Byzantine, and Western families. I do not think the judgments are as 'black and white' as most people seem to want to make them on ANY side of the issue. AUTHORITY is derived FROM THE SOURCE - God Almighty. What must be remembered is that NOT EVERY MANUSCRIPT IS EQUALLY INERRANT IN TERMS OF ITS ACTUAL READINGS. Each is INFALLIBLE because it derives its authority from the original. The REAL question is not whether or not we have a preserved Word; it is whether that Word MUST be all in one place on one piece of paper (or exemplar of a new version for example) to be said to be 'preserved.'

    When I say each manuscript is not equally inerrant, that is not a cause for concern that I somehow deny inerrancy. I hold the Rene' Pache view of a Scripture 'essentially preserved in all (copies) but perfectly preserved in none.'

    You pose many sharp questions regarding my (KJV/TR) views of providential preservation (I include those in whose camp I am, such as Cloud and Hills, generally speaking), but have you any of your own that serve you and sustain your faith as you seek full knowledge of the truth?

    It is a rather safe place "“ in terms of friendly disputations such as we are having "“ only being the interrogator, and positing nothing as regards your own faith. How are you able to stand in what you presently believe?

    God makes me stand. I don't consider it a 'disputation' either. But it's a little more difficult for me to state 'like so and so' said; this is easy for most KJVOs to do - because when you knock one down, there's another to put there. Knock those whom Letis called dilletantes on the KJVO side down (Riplinger, Ruckman, etc) - and Hills can be thrown into the mix. Knock his arugments down and Burgon (who - and nobody seems to want to mention this - DIED before much of the textual evidence available now was here) is brought forth.

    Go READ these folks - and bad arguments become crystal clear.

    Now by the same token, I do not hold to the conflation theory of W/H, either - there is so little to commend it. I also have hesitation of a Lucianic recension; but the difference is that my position considers God's providence of using ALL the manuscripts - and not dismissing as 'corrupt' those that don't jive with my own view of how 'God must' have done something.

    I also cringe every time I read 'the inferior Byzantine text,' because I do not believe it to be so clear cut.


    As I see it, this contest is properly between the KJV/1894 TR holders and the MT holders. The CT position is a dying wolf; you don´t need to kick or beat a dying wolf if it is no longer able to maul you. Those of us in the fray are really in the same family, with not much between us save the issue of faith preceding our view, or our view preceding our faith. I think you have put it in similar terms.

    Funny. The MAJORITY is supposedly right. Of course, the MAJORITY of Christians now use something BESIDES the KJV. The MAJORITY of Christians, in fact, use Bibles based on the W/H text.

    And the MAJORITY of ANCIENT MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE is on the side of the CT.



    My wife is after me to clean the house, so I'm going to have to go in just a moment. But I have enjoyed this portion and hope to engage the rest of it soon. But a quick story that exemplifies what you're talking about regarding 'family' and why it is such an issue with me.

    In 1998, I joined a BMA church in Mississippi. After we'd been there about four months, the Missions Committee brought up a recommendation for Bibles to send to China. The discussion was proceeding well. The pastor then asked, "Are there any more questions before we vote?" At this point, the guy sitting behind me who had just joined said, 'Is it KJV?'

    It took everything I had to not stand up and say, "Does that make a freaking difference?" This might be a fun subject to discuss. And you're correct, we are part of the same family - going to have to spend an eternity together reading the NIV (you know I'm joking, Steve :). But this man was so committed to his tradition that he would rather vote AGAINST sending a 'non-KJV' Bible to China - rather than something that might actually produce fruit and salvation. It turned out not to matter; it was a Chinese version and passed unanimously.

    Remarks like 'not a real Bible' about other versions really got me sick about the whole thing. We had a Sunday School class where the teacher liked to make a big deal about how the NIV 'misrepresented' a particular passage. Well, one Sunday morning the teacher was ready to make a big deal about it. I was sitting next to the pastor, who had his TR out. The teacher asked the pastor about something and the pastor looked - and told the teacher the truth: the NIV got it right in this particular pasage (w/the TR no less) and the KJV GOT IT WRONG!!

    Needless to say, there wasn't a big deal made about that like there would have been if the opposite had been the case. And THAT is my issue: the double standard.

    As I said earlier, I use the NKJV devotionally and the NASB for school. I use the NKJV because it has ALL THREE textual readings in it.

    I'll try to interact the next few days. God bless you, and if I said anything that went after you personally, do know it came from the pen and not the heart - and I'm sorry if I did.

    Maestroh Bill
  10. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    When you said Cloud´s statements re Wallace were proven wrong, are you referring to Wallace´s response? That response, as I have said, showed Wallace´s heart in a good light, but I do not think it refuted Cloud´s objections. These two men have radically different frames of reference.

    That Cloud did not specify Martin was MT rather than KJO I think is beside the point. The point is the critique of the Hortian theory.

    Why nit-pick "” "œmajor on minors", some would call it "” on all the things Cloud did not say regarding
    Burgon? If I were to pick on little errors or misrepresentations (though I don´t think you mean to misrepresent), I could point out you said,

    <blockquote>"œBurgon thought the TR needed change (which he did - although by 'different principles' than WH)"¦"</blockquote>

    But that´s not accurate. WH thought it should be trashed, not changed. Their "œprinciple" was put it in the circular file. And yes, Burgon did think it should be changed. You can see, when I talk (at least now) of Burgon, Martin, Scrivener, Bruggen, etc., I make it plain they were not TR/KJO men but MT advocates, with varying nuances to their views. I do not think those who have glossed over this meant to deceive, though, primarily through dealing with you, I have found it prudent to make this very clear. Interacting with you has been edifying to me. I never had any conflicts over versions in the churches I have been in. I turned away from Ruckman when I saw how he treated others, besides his bad ideas. Ditto Riplinger. I have often been in the minority re the Bibles used. I suppose I have been blessed (a word I do not use loosely) by being in churches in recent years that live and move in a gracious spirit.

    Bill, the reason why I want our discussion to be open (as opposed to private) is for the sake of clarity and grace: I didn´t quote your remarks about Cloud as it was clear you wanted them private, and I wanted to respect that. What I referred to was in the 12th paragraph. I stand by what I said. You see how "œprivate" communications on these issues complicates things?

    I think you (and others) have a good point when you say that KJO defenders often don´t point out that when Fuller used Wilkinson´s work in Which Bible? he didn´t state Wilkinson was SDA. To be honest, neither have I in my To Break A Sword, though that is one item I will correct in the final version. I seem to recall Cloud making note of that misjudgment on Fuller´s part, and I do not believe he uses Wilkinson´s work himself. I agree with you we need to be open and above-board in these things. The use of such material is an interesting discussion of itself.

    Am I right in thinking you impugn witnesses to discredit their testimony rather than deal with issues? Put another way, dealing with personalities instead of ideas. I don´t like this approach. The only time I use it myself is regarding Westcott and Hort, for in their specific cases their conduct and private statements do cast light on their job performance, their integrity, their motives, and the product of their activity. I do not restrict myself to their conduct, and far more extensively deal with their ideas. Ultimately, that´s what this is about. Ideas, and the fruit of them.

    When you impugn the character of my witnesses, I will defend them insofar as it is warranted. It is important to do so to prevent their testimony "” and their research "” from being discredited. And then there is the issue (related to Wilkinson et al) of using sources who are not always sound (either in conduct, doctrine, or both) but their research is good.

    As I read further into your post I see we are getting onto dangerous ground. To accuse someone publicly of slander is to open yourself to actual legal charges of libel. I doubt Cloud would take you to court, per 1 Corinthians 6, but it nonetheless opens you to public rebuke. Bill, I honestly think such language is best stayed away from. Perhaps to you it is arguable, yet this is what defamation cases are made of. If you feel he has wronged someone else, let that one deal with it, except perhaps for bringing forth evidence to exonerate the wronged.

    You have an advantage over me, as I don´t have Letis´ work on Hills (and which you are being so kind as to shortly remedy!), so I will refrain from discussing this at the moment.

    Let me posit this, however. Many young men and women who are born-again Christians pursue medical studies; to get their degrees and succeed in their internships they almost always have to swallow their beliefs and "œgo stealth" so they are not flunked by their professors. This pertains not only in the field of medicine, but law, history, psychology & psychiatry, biology, etc. etc. WE NEED TO DEAL WITH IDEAS.

    Thank you for the Price article! I appreciate all the info I can get.

    Do you recall the passage where the "œNIV got it right"¦and the KJV GOT IT WRONG!!"? I´d be interested in that.

    Thank you for obliging me and stating the view you hold as regards the MSS. We are on much safer and more solid ground dealing with ideas. And I would like to discuss them.

    Bill, what do you think of ending this thread, and continuing the discussion on a new and similar one? At 200 plus posts it may be daunting to some to even begin reading.

  11. Tallen

    Tallen Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, and it will probably be offered on my website sometime in the future. I have a couple of great exchanges that happened between a "Post-mil Theonomist" and Letis, and some exchanges on the Pope being "The Antichrist". Both were very worthwhile, and both show the fiery personality of Letis.

    I am hoping that at a future date I can get a hold of his organization and get permission to publish some of his work as well.

    I am still looking for the email with the book attached, I haven't forgotten.

    {Edit to remove triplet...}

    [Edited on 8-9-2006 by Contra_Mundum]
  12. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    "Do you recall the passage where the "œNIV got it right"¦and the KJV GOT IT WRONG!!"? I´d be interested in that."


    Can anyone provide a timeline showing when the manuscripts were found/developed? This would help the many who are new to this debate.
  13. Maestroh

    Maestroh Puritan Board Freshman


    A couple of points here.

    1) Again, this seems for you to want to be some sort of 'debate.' I am interested in a discussion of the pertinent issues. Cloud lied about Wallace - period. You can accuse me of whatever you wish - yet he did not follow even the KJV in his confrontation. Since Dan Wallace does not hold David Cloud's view of inspiration - Wallace is an 'apostate,' a term that Cloud uses to describe him.

    And you think I'M the one who deals in personalities? A perusal of Cloud's website shows his first mode of argumentation is 'ad hominem.' I simply wrote you to tell you up front WHY I consider him an unreliable source of information on this thing. Now, if you want to consider him reliable - fine. But it doesn't just boil down to Wallace; it is a constant theme.

    All of us make mistakes in ministry and in judgment. If this were a one-time thing or even a two times in 31 years of Cloud's writings, it would be one thing. But it is a constant; even FBs don't like Cloud's attack dog personality and his 'going after' anyone who isn't just like himself. But I've said enough about Cloud and just want to drop him from discussion.

    2) Regarding issues, I was hoping to get to this on the thread and deal with it; wife had me cleaning up the other night. Yet again, I think you're way off base. I mentioned the CT - and discussed my own views on it in part - to lay a foundation.

    Let me say one other thing regarding personalities. I note you like Dr. Letis; he wasn't my flavor of tea, but he has been among the more honest and certainly scholarly KJV defenders. He has also been willing, if I may speak metaphorically, to clean up the trash in his back yard by pointing out the inconsistencies of such groups as the DBS. At the same time, a simple reading of what Ted posted (and I know Ted Clore from CARM) and a look at Letis' white throne judgments make me wonder if that bothers you - or if it only bothers you if it comes from someone on the other side?

    Letis has referred to both Wallace and White as: dilletante, propagandists, and fundamentalists. Incredibly, not a single one of those ad hominem arguments on the part of Letis is true. Yet I was 'reprehensible' to talk about Hills ARGUMENTS - and his utter lack of EVIDENCE in applying them? When I point this out, that does NOT constitute a personal attack; Hills defended the KJV in places where it did not even have manuscript support - or incredibly little support - despite his professed axiom of 'the majority of Greek manuscripts.' (This begs the most obvious question: why the majority in the twentieth century? Why not the majority of the second, fourth, or tenth? And why not the LATIN manuscripts - that outnumber the Greek nearly two to one and show an Alexandrian bias? Why do we dismiss with all ancient versions EXCEPT the alleged early date of the Syriac Simple?) These are arguments of MANUSCRIPTS and TEXTS; Hills, you, Letis, I and everyone must deal with THOSE.

    Remember Hills' arguments? The ones he claimed are from the Bible? I don't ever recall the Bible being a manual on how to do textual criticism. Now, if you wish to state - as I suspect you would - that there are different forms of TC, then you and I are in 100% agreement. This of course leads to the PRECISE subjectivity that KJV defenders profess to abhor. Yet EVERY TEXT CRITICAL METHODOLOGY - including that of Hills, Hort, and whomever - involves SUBJECTIVITY. The ONLY way to ever be COMPLETELY OBJECTIVE and remove ALL SUBJECTIVITY is to COUNT manuscripts all equally. MT advocates, though, don't want to do this because virtually all of the ancient VERSIONAL evidence plus the Latin manuscripts puts them in the minority. I do not advocate nose-counting as the simple solution, either; but it is the ONLY one with NO subjectivity if applied consistently.

    Futhermore, I can't help but wonder if this - the accusation of personalities - is a red herring. I most certainly addressed the FACT that nowhere in the WCF (which Hills endorsed) does it say 'the TR is the preserved Word of God.' I notice that you did not bother to deal with my dealing with that particular issue - but chose instead to focus again on Mr. Cloud, Mr Martin, and whoemever. So with all due respect, I cannot help but wonder if it is you rather than I who am obssessed with it.

    Stating that a source is unreliable - and PROVING the source is unreliable - is NOT ad hominem. Or at the very least proving the source is unreliable IN A PARTICULAR INSTANCE - while it does not suddenly exclude the source from citation (all of us are human after all) - it still does not constitute ad hominem. I did not consider Ted's post about Wallace by Robinson to be ad hominem; it dealt with issues. I DID consider Theo Letis' comments that Wallace was 'a broken reed,' a 'fundamentalist,' (though he quickly forgot his perjorative use of the term when Pensacola Christian College came calling in 1997 for the videos), and on holywordcafe a 'dilletante.'

    That's quite an interesting eclectic mix of names to call someone - particularly when that person has authored THE second-year Greek grammar used in the bulk of seminaries and has translated the entire Bible into English and offered it for free. Furthermore, Wallace has come out in FAVOR of using the Majority Text as the collating base for manuscripts (since 1993).

    And regarding White? Letis had six years that White challenged him to publicly debate the issue; Letis refused. Now I'm sure he had his own reasons - but the one stated was the White was not qualified in the field. Interestingly enough, do you know who Letis repeatedly declared was 'the leading authority in textual criticism?' Bart Ehrman. The AGNOSTIC from North Carolina - and I don't say that to attack Ehrman, I've emailed him and found him very cordial and kind as well as helpful in outlining his views; much of what he told me made it into "Misquoting Jesus." But if we're going to argue that theology is the driver in this discussion, I find it interesting that Letis would consider an agnostic a greater authority on the text of the Bible than someone who worked on the NASB Update in 1995. (By the same token, I thought it was unfair of White to put up the Theonomy-L debate with Letis from 1995 w/o Letis' permission; while I'm not accusing White of altering it, how do I know he didn't? That's not ad hominem; that's considering the world we live in and looking at it realistically).

    However, let us come to an understanding on three things:

    1) I agree with you that a new post needs to be opened. This post deals with the W/H manuscripts being 'bad' and we have wondered off tangentially.

    2) I'm not ignoring you. It is difficult for me to find time lately. We may be buying our first house in the next month, I told you about people quitting at the hospital, and my son is playing football (he's seven) for the first time this fall and that has taken up a bunch of extra time. So don't think I'm hitting and running or just sitting back and waiting. I believe you deserve to be heard and responded to, and I hope to receive the same in return.

    3) When the Van Bruggen book gets here, I'm going to read it - perhaps photocopy it (probably for reference) and send it back. I do not feel comfortable keeping a $140 book from someone as gracious as you have been with me.

    I read all I can. Presently, I'm reading Tim Ralston's dissertation entitled, "Majority Text and Byzantine Text-Type Development." It's over 400 pages; if you'd like a copy, go to the DTS webpage and look up under faculty and email Tim Ralston (he's on staff now). And all I've ever heard is GOOD stuff about Van Bruggen from all sides of the issue - so I'm certainly looking forward to it.

    God bless you, sir. And one final note.

    I believe you told me not long ago that you have a child almost my age. I take that to mean that you are probably old enough to be my father. I hope to show you due deference as an elder in the faith. I'm appreciative of the discussion and hope that it leads to a better understanding on both sides.

    I think we are in agreement: a Bible version is not worth dividing the church over. At the same time, I find myself agreeing with Zane Hodges who said that he hoped people would not think' there is nothing to discuss' because there is. And I hope to emulate his tone as well.

    Take care,

    Maestroh Bill
  14. Maestroh

    Maestroh Puritan Board Freshman


    Your last paragraph is what I find interesting. A 'beliving' approach. Fair enough. Can any of you who claim to believe this ACTUALLY TELL US WHAT IT IS?

    Hills argues, "Majority rules - well, uh, except for those interpolations from the Latin Vulgate."

    Basically, he STARTS with the KJV and goes backward - and concocts his 'believing principles' based on starting at the conclusion (without, of course, ever proving his is the ONLY believing conclusion).

    I believe in a 'believing approach,' but unlike Hills it takes ALL of the manuscript evidence into account. I would point out that MANY conservatives who held/hold to inerrancy including Fee, Wallace, Robertson, Warfield, Machen, etc - are Bible believers who come to the EXACT OPPOSITE conclusion of Hills.

    Hills' position, in fact, is so fragile that all it would take to implode it upon itself is a second century Byzantine manuscript to be found this morning. Period. ONE Byzantine manuscript found this morning would implode his entire set-up - because whilst Hills and his followers would argue, "See, the Byzantine text-type existed in the second century."

    Fair enough.

    Of course, it would ALSO be proof - by their own words - that the reason it is found is because it was 'recognized as corrupt, and set aside and not used; hence, it survived.'

    OTOH, a Byzantine manuscript find would be VERY INTERESTING to hear from the MT standpoint because it would at least CONCLUSIVELY PROVE the existence of the text-type in the second century.

    Yet I would point out that Van Bruggen, Letis, Hodges, Farstad, Robinson, Pierpoint, Pickering - are all Bible believers as well. Yet even among them w/in MT circles is disagreement as to the HOW.

    God bless,

  15. Tallen

    Tallen Puritan Board Freshman

    Bill and Steve,

    If you would start a new thread, perhaps I could put my two cents in about some things here and there that may shed a little light on a few of the things brought up. I am like Bill and am not particularly interested in debating the topic, but would be interested in talking about a few of these issues.

    Also Bill, I was a personal friend of Letis, as you know, and spent many hours talking to him in emails, on a couple of forums and via phone conversations. It was not below him to use his fiery temper and ability with the language to state things in a manner that would stir the pot for the only reason to make conversation. He was known for his stated ad hominem and strawman as the spoon that would stir the pot. After the initial pot stirring to see what would come up, he would take the role of a teacher and teach his trade from his perspective. But privately he would state his love, concern and appreciation of those he was critical of.

    Wallace was one of those individuals. He did respect the man despite some of those things you have brought up. White although, was a different story as he felt that White presented himself falsely to others with phony credentials. :scholar: I think he wanted healing in that relationship, but it would come upon his terms. Simply stated, I believe he saw White as very knowledgeable, but as one presenting himself in a way to give credibility to his view through falsely representing himself as having a "legitimate" doctorate in the field.
  16. Tallen

    Tallen Puritan Board Freshman

    I must say that I agree with you here Bill, in regards to Ehrman, this was an inconsistency in Letis. I am sure he would have had his reason and did this with much thought and reflection. But one of his criticisms of Warfield was that he went to Europe to learn from W&H, those dang unbelieving heretics, and then turned around and looked to Ehrman as a leading authority. Although I can't say why, I suspect it is because of method and "legitimate" credentials, as apposed to the method, false credentials and agenda of the others.

    I agree also that White's tactic of posting his debate with Letis was unfair to Letis, and I'll add, done from pride. It would have been much more fruitful if these two men of God had acted cordially toward each other and resolved their issues. But how many times can we say that when it comes to these important issues and human personalities.
  17. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Before I respond to Bill I want to ask anyone who may be listening: is there any way I can insert an image "“ a jpg file "“ into a post? I have a couple of charts that may illustrate somewhat the question Chris asked a few posts up. Not exactly a timeline, but in that vein. And while I´m asking, I can´t figure out how to put a photo into the avatar space in my "œedit profile". Can anyone clue me? Thanks on both counts.

    Bill, I must say that James Price essay on Hills you posted the link to was very good. I will read it again to see if I can give some cogent response.

    Please, Bill, hear me: when you critique Hills´ "“ or Letis´ "“ views and ideas, I certainly do not find that "œreprehensible", but to the contrary, engaging in civil discourse over issues and ideas. I quite like that. It was only the remark regarding Hill´s motives in changing his views I objected to. I would like to drop it.

    I will have to read Cloud´s remarks on Wallace again. And I will read Letis´ remarks again. Let´s leave it at that for now.

    I don´t consider "œdebate" a bad word, or thing. I suppose it depends on the spirit of those engaged in it. It may be an amiable discussion wherein friendly "œopponents" expose their views to mutual scrutiny; it may be especially valuable a forum if either is disposed to change their views as a result of such an exchange. I have looked at definitions of the word and some are quite benign. It is such an endeavor I believe we both are interested in.

    I think in any public discussion there may be a legitimate "œplaying to the crowd", i.e., keeping others in mind while defending or promoting a certain point of view on things. There may also be an unhealthy/unsavory aspect to it, such as pandering to the base natures we all yet partake of while in this life. I seek to do the former where appropriate, and shun the latter constantly. If I fail in this I welcome rebuke.

    Thank you for your deference to my age. I trust you won´t show me any quarter in arguments because of it; remember there is also a saying, "œThere´s no fool like an old fool!"

    I have been listening closely to you, and the links you referred to, and I am getting a good sense of the opposition to the King James/1894 Textus Receptus position (as held by Hills et al), and take serious note of it. Especially noteworthy are the critiques by Majority Text advocates. As I said, the Price article was keenly reasoned. This is the particular area of my concern. I will also engage in discussions concerning why I do not think the Critical Text worthy of putting confidence in, though my primary area is as I said.

    I will give you a chance to respond more fully, before engaging you again. I do understand you have a full and busy life, so there is no rush! Though I will attempt to post the two "œtimeline" graphs I have, with comments.

    Why don´t you keep the book? Use it to buy some textbooks for your studies if you want (speaking of which, have you checked Amazon or Alibris (http://www.alibris.com/) for used stuff?). Though selling books is a nuisance. Some books & sets are very cheap. Another good place is http://www.allbookstores.com/. I would be disappointed if you returned it. It was simply a gift. And I haven´t been that gracious! At any rate, it´s a good book to have. And I still have two copies.

    So start a new thread. I´ll meet you there.

  18. Tallen

    Tallen Puritan Board Freshman

    Steve and others that are interested in this book.

    I have been going through my emails with Letis and checking the attachments and links he had sent to me. I think, regretfully so, that the book in question was on a link that is no longer provided by the host it was linked to. But I did come accross the following article that may be of some interest, and in the meantime I will continue to look for the book, as I am not sure if it was an attachment or a link.

    Please find the following PDF file attached to this post.
  19. pickwick

    pickwick Puritan Board Freshman

    I would just like to say how much I have enjoyed listening in on this conversation. Not only have I been refreshed by the Christ-like spirit exhibited by all involved;I have been enlightened by the dialogue.

    I look forward to a continuation of the discussion in a new thread.:2cents:
  20. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Ad hominem arguments are valid in the context of the exclusive nature of Christianity's claims. Think of our Lord's references to the behaviour of publicans and hypocrites to show how a Christian ought not to act. If one does not believe in the divine inspiration and authority of holy Scripture then one can validly argue they have no basis upon which to make any legitimate claim about the Bible. There are foundational truths, which, if a man will not accept, he cannot be regarded as thinking rationally. At that point ad hominem argumentum is valid.
  21. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    How is this relevant? The fact is that there are differences amongst the critical text crowd also. These differences are open for intramural discussion. But when they are discussed intramurally it is with an acceptance of the basis principle that distinguishes one school of thought from another. Hence when examining a school of thought from the outside, it is its distinctive principle which should be scrutinised, not the different views as to how this distinctive principle is to be applied.

    The issue is between receiving the Bible as an infallible revelation from God and receiving it as a human writing like any other.
  22. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    Permit me, please, to try to get a few minor problem areas out of the way before we commence our discussion proper.

    I looked at Cloud´s article on Wallace, and nowhere does he call W. an "œapostate". He does refer to DTS as an apostate school, not only because, as a "œNew Evangelical" institution (so he puts it), it teaches redaction criticism, but for other reasons as well. They pertain primarily to the issue of "œseparation". But look, the Presbyterian denomination I have come from (PCA), is likewise under fire for doctrinal aberrations. I understand the OPC is also having its struggles. In truth, the forces of apostasy are rampant, particularly in our seminaries. Exceeding few remain unscathed. The spirit of antichrist has infiltrated multitudes of churches and their denominational schools. I daresay there are those who could say WTS is going "œapostate" (I would not concede that as I don´t know the true state of the place). Some FBs see the issue of non-separation, i.e., worldliness, as widespread, and a terrible danger to the faith. Many Reformed people see the same thing. It is much written about. We need to be careful, and alert; and not defensive. It helps to understand other people´s points of view, even if we don´t see things the same way. Maintaining a godly walk in the midst of all this strife, accusations, and name-calling is not easy. It is too easy to become what we abhor in others.

    The use (per Letis) of the term "œfundamentalist" to describe Wallace is vague in its import. When I read more of Letis I expect to understand his use of various terms better. I have, in an internet discussion, referred to myself as "œa fundamentalist", although I insisted on defining the term myself. J.I. Packer wrote a book, Fundamentalism and the Word of God, and I cited a chapter in it to give some historical background to the term.

    When I used the term on myself, what I meant by it was simply one adhering in strictest fidelity to the Biblical revelation "” informed by sound hermeneutical method "” with regard to knowledge, holiness, faith, separation from both apostatizing "œChristianity" and from the world, the while maintaining compassion for the suffering with attending works of mercy, and a zeal for evangelizing the lost.

    It appears there are so few words nowadays which convey that utter fidelity to Biblical truth the Lord requires. "œEvangelical" is no longer a functional term, so diluted has it become, co-opted even by apostates from the Faith. So I do not care if I am called the despised term as long as it is nuanced by truth, and not slanderous malice. I do realize that others´ perception of the word has little nuance, and so I generally refrain from using it to describe myself. What does one call the kind of believer I refer to? It is a semantic problem.

    You said,

    <blockquote>a look at Letis' white throne judgments make me wonder if that bothers you - or if it only bothers you if it comes from someone on the other side?</blockquote>

    Bill, at 64 years of age I have seen and heard so much, that I let a lot of it go. What saith the Scripture? "œThe discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is to his glory to pass over a transgression." (Proverbs 19:11) The NIV has the first phrase, "œA man´s wisdom gives him patience"¦" Another: "œHatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." (Proverbs 10:12) And one more, "œIt is an honor for a man to cease from strife"¦" (Proverbs 20:3a) The last one is good for helping people to see the actual honor in walking away from a provocation to fight. The adversary may call "œcoward!", but the angels watching from glory whisper, "œHonor!"

    I would like to write a brief treatise: "œThe use of non-inflamatory language promotes peace, whereas inflammatory words war."

    Do you realize how inflammatory a remark "œLetis´ white throne judgments" is? Calm down, young saint, a soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.

    David Cloud has spoken against D.A. Carson "” and with some cause, from his point of view "” but I nonetheless like Carson, though I strongly disagree with some of his positions. Often I find myself friends with people who are enemies "” or at least opponents of each other "” and sometimes can mediate, or at least model a gracious spirit. And often I like people whom I vigorously oppose as regards doctrine or practice. I don´t like when anyone disdains or disrespects a younger brother or sister of my King, be they from my camp or from an opposing camp. Just so we get that straight. I can look past the faults of my friends and my opponents, and consider the issues.

    Listen, others may speak roughly; do not be the vigilante executing wrathful judgment on them; rather model the Spirit of Christ yourself, that others may see it and be edified. Some people are going to be initially embarrassed when they meet in the Everlasting Kingdom, for those they vilified in this life (justifiably in their own minds) will be seen there as beloved of the King of glory, honored members of the royal family.

    Sometimes what we hate in others are really characteristics we ourselves possess. "œ[so and so´s] white throne judgments", "œattack dog personality" "” those sound like the kind of personal attacks you so deplore when they are done by others.

    I hope to model (a term we use in educational circles) a more benign way in the midst of this minefield of explosive issues and personalities. Let me make clear I´m not a great saint "” I´ve just made so many of the same errors myself, and the Lord Jesus has been gracious in showing me my own heart and profound failings and His steadfast love nonetheless. Simultaneously righteous and sinful. Such almost forces us to be humble.

    So let´s get on with it, dear brother, in a way that will honor our God and Father. As I´ve said, I appreciate your knowledge of the issues, and your highlighting the apparent (though sometimes real) flaws in the arguments of those I have learned from. This is all very beneficial and edifying to me.

  23. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Chris M.,

    Tomorrow (where I am now it's 11 PM -- bedtime -- and 4 PM EST) I'll post something re the timeline request. As I don't know how to put an image into the post I'll write the text and attach the graphs.



    Thanks for the 2¢!

  24. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    It´s time to start the new thread. I´ll do it as I assume Bill has his hands full with work, study, and family. To find the continuation of this one please go to the thread, "œWhat is the authentic New Testament text?"

    Hopefully, we all (myself included) will remember moderator/owner Scott Bushey´s policy re the board (seeing this is a volatile topic for some):

    <blockquote>I have assumed a zero tolerance platform as of late; If I see any innuendo, ad hominem, slander, below the belt assaults on any believers from here on out, the guilty party will be banned immediately.

    I'm over this; tread carefully. (Posted in the "œJames White on 1 John 5:7" thread, March 10, 2006)</blockquote>

    Chris M., I´ll post the graphs in the new thread.

    Bill & others, see you there.


    [Edited on 8-10-2006 by Jerusalem Blade]
  25. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I’ve started reading “Crowned with Glory” by Thomas Holland and realized I really didn’t have a handle on the difference between the Majority Text position and the preservation position. This post is so helpful. I wanted to thank you, Steve, for all your hard work over the many years on this topic.
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