The egregious error of modern textual criticism and it evangelical surrogates is that the process is essentially Christless. Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, rather than being essential to the analysis is considered a liability of one’s theological precommitments. In what other venue or discipline of life would a faithful saint argue that Christ has no access to that part of one’s heart and mind? The synchronic worship of Jehovah and “their own gods,’ (2 Kings 17:33) is indicative of the theological schizophrenia of modern evangelicalism. “Sure,” our interlocular would say, “I’m a follower of Jehovah, but not when it comes to the analysis of Scripture texts. Then I’m a follower of Adrammelech or Anammelech.”
The following is an excerpt taken from the writing of Nathaniel Ingelo in his 1659 edition of The Perfection, Authority, and Credibility of the Holy Scriptures. In this pericope Ingelo addressed the Christocentricity of Scripture.
“After God had spoken by several parcels, and after divers manners by the Prophets, at last he sent his Son to perfect the book, write it in full, and seal it up: and this is so well done that whosoever shall add anything instead of mending the work, and doing the world a courtesy, he shall bring a curse upon himself: for Christ had made it a perfect Canon.
Now that appears thus. God hath declared Christ to be our Prophet, commanded us to hear him, told him all his mind concerning us, laid up in him all the treasures of divine wisdom He told his disciples, all that heard of his Father, had them go and preach it, and promised salvation to all that should believe it. Paul professed that he declared the whole counsel of God in his preaching and pronounced a curse upon any angel that should bring another Gospel. The Evangelist Luke wrote that Christ taught till his ascension, and Saint John added as much concerning the miracles of Christ, as was enough for motive to faith.”
In following paragraph, note the timeliness of Ingelo’s 17th century observations.
“From all which we argue, Christ was in the bosom of the Father, and knew all; he came from thence and told all, his Scholars at his command preached, and, for the benefit of future times, wrote all. We acknowledge they did, received their books, and are satisfied. Only the Papists and some other heretics, that they might have honor and profit to make supply, say they did not.”
In the 17th century only Roman Catholics and heretics were unsatisfied with the Received Text and KJV while today it appears that much of mainstream Evangelicalism has joined their ranks. What are we to make of this? Were Papists and heretics more orthodox than the Reformers gave them credit or is modern Evangelicalism a modern expression of 17th century Papal teaching and heresy on the Bible? I leave that to you to decide. Ingelo then asks an illuminating question:
“But who will believe them?”
Yes, who in the 17th century of those that name the name of Christ would believe the apologetics and polemics of Papists and heretics? The question is rhetorical. But who in 2022 are unsatisfied with the Received Text and KJV and believes the critics? Ingelo would be unable to ask the question today and expect the same answer. Evangelicals believe the critics as they embrace the eclectic reconstruction of the Protestant sacred text. Satisfaction is not a word that accompanies the Evangelical attitude toward the Bible. Indeed, dissatisfaction with the Bible has become a Christian virtue welcomed in Evangelicalism.
The last quote of this post is also thought provoking. Though stated within a redemptive context comparing salvation by grace and faith alone with salvation by grace, faith, and works, the idea of “necessaries to be believed” is insightful.
“When Christ says, Go and preach what I have taught you, and promised salvation to those which believe that and no more. They [papists, heretics] will make pretty work, that after this appoint other necessaries to be believed, (i.e.) such necessaries to salvation, as one may be saved and not believe them.”
Papists and heretics are saved by acts based on other ecclesiastically designated “necessaries.” Currently, Multiple Version Onlyism is an ecclesiastically designated necessary. No space exists in modern Evangelicalism for a standard sacred text. MVO must be believed, in addition to salvation by grace through faith which begs the question, “Can one be saved by grace alone by faith alone without being MVO? And if they can, then why is MVO necessary? And why is holding to a standard sacred text unacceptable?
When you are standing in the frame of 2022, you are too close to see the whole picture. When standing upon 17th century writings, from that distant perspective the whole picture comes into view. You see, to argue for the Christocentricity of Holy Scripture is to argue for historic orthodox Christianity. If you leave Christ out of the prolegomena, the result of such theological formulation is a Christless faith tradition.
Nathaniel Ingelo, The Perfection, Authority, and Credibility of the Holy Scriptures. Discoursed in a sermon before the University of Cambridge at the Commencement, July 4, 1658 (London: Printed by E.T. for Luke Fawn at the sign of the Parrot in Pauls Church-yard, 1659), 22-25.