In a recent podcast Mark Ward asked the question, ”Why can’t we say the N/A 28 is further sanctified?” For context, on the same podcast but in a different episode I stated that the TR had gone through refinement across its several iterations. I argued further that the impelling force behind the transitions from one iteration of the TR to another was because the Spirit of God was doing a sanctifying work in His people and thus His people were able to recognize subsequent iterations to be more clearly and more perfectly the word of God in Greek particularly but also for the whole canon in general. To this declaration, Ward asked the question mentioned above. The “we” he has in mind includes himself as well as other text-critics like Dr. Hixon and Dr. Gurry. So why can’t the “we” thusly construed say the N/A 28 is further sanctified or is the next iteration of the Greek New Testament beyond the Trinitarian Bible Society’s TR?
In short, they haven’t the biblical mandate, biblical authority, or historical grounding to make that claim. They haven’t the biblical mandate in that no where in Scripture is a deontic reason given to the scholar, because of his scholarship, to make the claim, “The N/A 28 is the next iteration of the Greek NT.” In other words, the Bible does not command scholars to make such definitive claims. They haven’t the biblical authority to make said claim because no where in Scripture is such authority granted the scholar or academy. Whereas the Scriptures clearly teach that the believing community ought [deontic mandate] to claim God’s word is God’s word [Mark 16:15] and they have been given the authority to declare God’s word to be God’s word [Galatians 1:8].
Finally, Ward et al haven’t the historical grounding to make the claim, ”The N/A 28 is the next iteration of the Greek NT.” Modern evangelical textual criticism is predicated upon the rejection of the Church’s Bible, the TR, followed by an attempt to start from scratch. In a word, modern evangelical textual criticism rejects TR priority in their text-critical work even though it served as the standard Greek for over 400 years. Now it is said that such a maneuver of rejection is necessary in order to ensure faithful and neutral assessment of the manuscript evidence. But in rejecting the TR as the starting place for text-critical work, what they have ostensibly said is, ”The historical working of the Holy Spirit through His people by faith to accept the TR counts as less then dust in the balance of decision.” Put more tersely, ”God the Spirit’s opinion doesn’t matter.” Such a transcendentless Archimedean Point precludes the possibility that Ward et al can rationally and with warrant, given fundamental Christian precommitments, make the claim that the N/A 28 is the next iteration of the Greek NT.
But perhaps an objection may arise in the neighborhood of, “Well that’s what you do, Pete. You foist your scholarly opinion on those who don’t know better.” First, this would be a gross mischaracterization of the our position. We have from the start maintained that it is the people of God through the leading of the Spirit of God by the reading of the word of God which brings about the iterative process of apographa and versions. We have been arguing in favor of the very things that Ward and company make zero claim to. In fact, Ward makes clear in at least two places in his episode, which I will address in a later post, that the people to have this discussion are those who are formally educated and/or know Greek. Which is to say that Christian plumbers and stay-at-home moms need not apply. Here at StandardSacredText.com, we argue the opposite. Sure, the scholars are going to do their work but the real work, the heaviest lift is done by the Spirit-led average Joe in the pew faithfully reading and obeying the word of God by faith. In sum, we are defending the mandate and authority of the believing community to decide what is or is not God’s word.
Second, we don’t begrudge a person their personal Christian belief. If Ward believes the N/A 28 is the word of God in Greek to the exclusion of all others, then, ok, let’s work from there. Still, I’d like to hear him say it. I mean he had the opportunity in this last episode. That said, one’s personal Christian belief is not automatically correct or biblically sound. For that personal Christian belief to be rational and warranted it must be first derived from the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit speaking in His word to that person receiving that testimony by faith. So what is Ward’s theological grounding for claiming that the N/A 28 is the word of God in Greek to the exclusion of all others? To my knowledge no such grounding exists in the CT camp and the appeals to Brash and Younkin [which I will deal with in a future post] are, in my estimation, like calling on Hillary Clinton while you hunker down in a Benghazi embassy. Help is not on the way. Or to borrow words from Gandalf, “Don’t look to Brash and Jongkind’s coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east and you will find more hurt than help.”
In sum, Ward et al cannot make the claim that the N/A 28 is the next iteration of the Greek NT because Academia hasn’t the mandate, authority, or historical grounding to do so. And so long as Academia insists that the textual/version discussion can only fruitfully happen or happen at all among the formally trained and/or those who know Greek, we at StarndardSacredText.com will argue that the academy and the Bride of Christ are at odds. And this is not a false dichotomy because a true and abiblical usurpation has taken place and it has taken place on the part of Academia over against the Church.