A Little Help for our CT/MVO Friends

Christians historically have formulated a robust Theology of Scripture, but as has been noted, current critical trends have forsaken the importance of this grounding for the Church. Apparently, there is no exegetical or theological grounding for the modern CT/MVO endorsing church. So, to assist with the prolegomena of such a system Calvin’s Institutes are suggested as a starting point. John Calvin (1509-1564) wrote his Institutes (1559) in the early orthodox period (1565-1640) of the Protestant Reformation. His work was taken up by the great apologist William Whitaker (1548-1595) in A Disputation of Holy Scripture Against the papists especially Bellarmine and Stapleton (1588). According to Wayne Spear, Whitaker was quoted more frequently than any other theologian by the Westminster Divines in the formulation of the 1647 Westminster Confession. The transmission and preservation of Calvin’s theology throughout the Reformation demonstrates the enduring truth of his early writings. Calvin’s genius in the theological grounding of the Protestant Reformation cannot be overstated, and intellectual honesty demands the recognition of this theological grounding in current applications. Calvin writes,

            [But] I reply, that the testimony of the Spirit is superior to all reason. For as God   alone is sufficient witness to himself in his own word, so also the word will never gain credit in the hearts of men, till it be confirmed by the internal testimony of the Spirit. It is necessary, therefore, that the same Spirit, who spake by the mouths of the prophets, should penetrate into our hearts, to convince us that they faithfully delivered the oracles which were divinely entrusted to them…; because, till he illuminate their minds, they are perpetually fluctuating amidst a multitude of doubts.” Calvin, Institutes, 1.7.4.

Using this quote as a framework, it is suggested that the answers to the following issues Calvin raises would provide just the theological grounding the CT/MVO position is yet lacking. So far, the strength of the CT/MVO position is solely negative, saying it’s just not as bad as the Authorized Version. This post is meant to help provide a positive theological apologetic based on the merits of the CT/MVO position itself. Based on the Calvin quote, then,

  1. How is the testimony of the Spirit superior to all reason according to the CT/MVO position?
  2. How is God a sufficient witness to himself in his own word according to CT/MVO position?
  3. How is this witness confirmed by the internal testimony of the Spirit according to CT/MVO position?
  4. Why is it necessary for the Spirit to convince us that the prophets faithfully delivered the words divinely entrusted to them according to CT/MVO position?
  5. Why is the Spirit’s illumination the solution to minds that are perpetually fluctuating amidst a multitude of doubts according to CT/MVO position?
  6. Based on these answers, then, in summary, “How is the Holy Spirit inseparable from the CT/MVO position?”

Blessings!

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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