So why is it that so many reject the Standard Sacred Text position? What is it about the argument in general that demands intelligent well-meaning Christians reject its major points?
I’m quite certain that it is not the fact that we are arguing for a text as we do for the Standard Sacred Text position. Most of our opponents and interlocutors attest to the fact that the Scriptures as they belong to the Church are in written propositions and that the collection of those propositions is called the canon. This can’t be where the hang-up is.
I’m also quite certain that few in the CT/MVO side would demur on the point that the Scriptures, the Bible of the Church is sacred book. Most, I would say, agree that the Bible is come down to us from God via the inspiration. As a result, the book and its words are sacred. That is, they are holy or separate from other words, being God’s words. Hence the traditional moniker, Holy Bible. Again, I do not believe this to be the hang-up between our positions.
It seems to me that there is little friction between us and the Mark Ward’s, James White’s, and Elijah Hixon’s of the world on the points of the Church having a sacred text. The rub comes with the adjective “standard”, is it not? But why?
Assuming that any attempt to characterize the Bible has theological implications, then adding an adjective, a modifier to “sacred text” would be a theological addition. Here’s the formula: “The Scripture is a ________ sacred text.” So we could have, The Scripture is a sufficiently reliable sacred text, or The Scripture is a false sacred text, or The Scripture is a true sacred text. All of these examples have theological implications depending on the word immediately prior to “sacred text”. “Standard” is no different.
If someone would say that the Scripture is a false sacred text, then most Christians would resist that conclusion and that on the basis of the Scripture itself. We here at StandardSacredText.com ask, Does sound exegetical teaching from Scripture prohibit us from appending “standard” to our sacred text? Would such an action be properly understood as false doctrine? If so, we would love to see this robust thoroughgoing exegetical and theological truth.
But some might say, It is not enough to hold to a position simply because the Bible does not prohibit it. You must have positive argumentation from Scripture for why you do what you do. Fair enough, but first let me reiterate, to this point there is no prohibition in Scripture which teaches that we ought not treat our Bible as the standard sacred text, especially when the vast majority of both sides already agree that our Bible is a sacred text.
In brief, our arguments in favor of a standard sacred text are: First, there is no Scripture which compels the believer to hold to multiple versions of the Bible or to consider the NT in a constant state of revision. As such, the CT/MVO Christians must also provide positive argumentation from Scripture for their position if they would have us do the same if they intend their argument to withstand their own critiques. Such an appraisal is not and is not forthcoming, thus there is a theological vacuum and theology abhors a vacuum.
Second, and in reply, there is one God, one Father, one Son, one Spirit, one Church, one way to salvation, one heaven, one hell, one Apostle’s Doctrine, one Creation, one creative word, one faith, one baptism, one Lord, one Kingdom, one Gospel, one inspired autograph of each book of the Bible, the Church is one body, Christ is the one head, one Bride, one Bridegroom, one end of all Creation (i.e., God’s glory), one Eschaton, and one eternal state and on and on.
From the one Tree of Life and the one Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the one family in the one Garden of Eden to the one city of the New Jerusalem whose builder and maker is the one God it seems to us that the whole of the Christian faith from beginning to end, soup to nuts, points the Christian to a robust Theology of One. By induction alone it is rational to claim one Bible and one alone.
Theologically speaking and beyond the scope of mere inference, if the Scripture is the source of the Theology of One, for the Christian, it stands to reason that God’s word be a member included in the Theology of One. And if this is the case, as we believe it is, then Christians ought to believe God’s word is one, really and concretely. And if it is truly one then neither rival nor counterfeit can be its equal. Such a thing we call, standard. Thus we have little issue declaring that our Bible as God’s word is the standard sacred text for the believing community.
The other side of course would have difficulty arguing for multiple ways to heaven or multiple Brides for the Bridegroom or a sufficiently reliable God or a sufficiently reliable inspired autograph. But I leave these ponderings to those on the other side of the aisle.