Over the weekend I had a couple interesting experiences. On Saturday I spent over 3 hours watching this debate between a real and properly defined KJVO advocate and Nate Cravatt co-host of The Recovering Fundamentalist podcast and MVO advocate.
Observation 1: Cravatt was wholly incapable of appreciating the reality that beliefs can be properly basic and held in a rational and warranted way while at the same time recognizing a bad argument in attempt to demonstrate that properly basic belief.
Observation 2: Anyone who equates the Traditional Text position or the Ecclesiastical Text position or the Confessional Text position or the Standard Sacred Text position to the KJVO position as evidenced in the linked video above is simply and clearly ignorant or maliciously mischaracterizing the above positions. Such attempts to equate our position with KJVO represents a profound lack of charity and academic acumen.
Incidentally, before my readers start sweating the different names of the above positions I would contend that all the position above hold to the same tenets but have particular foci. It is all the same position with different points of emphasis.
Then on Sunday I had the opportunity to observe the baptism of an infant and hear a pastor preach an hour sermon from the ESV. Both practices I disagree with but nevertheless find it interesting and helpful to observe those with whom I disagree.
Having experiencing these two things over the weekend I came to several observations:
Assuming the different versions of the English Bible are close enough [which is a large concession given yesterday’s sermon. His text read “weakness” mine read “infirmity” because they mean the same…riiight???] and that a lost person can be saved out of them, the following still remain significant problems which the CT/MVO position has yet to remotely begin to answer.
1.) The fact is, and Mark Ward’s Which TR totally misses this point, when comparing the KJV and modern versions there are major sections in the other versions which are omitted, bracketed, or openly doubted in the text. We find this behavior both in the printing and asserting of such things to be exegetically and theologically untenable.
2.) The modern versions regularly flatten the metaphorical/analogical language used in the KJV and as such the modern versions are less precise and beautiful.
3.) The multiplicity of English-versions does not comport in any way with the language of the unity of the Church or unity in Christ found in the Scriptures.
4.) It seems to us that the multiplicity of versions is predicated on a love for money. The printing of the Bible and all subsequent commentaries and study helps is good for business. If it is wrong to make merchandise of God’s people (2 Peter 2:3) then it is seems wrong to make merchandise of God’s words.
5.) The current CT/MVO position has rejected its history as grounded in the Church and particularly the Reformation Church as it came out of the superstition of the Middle Ages. In a word, the current CT/MVO position is transient homeless position and is thought to be virtuous for it.
6.) If all the versions are basically the same then a call for one should be hardly controversial. But it is controversial. We are the one’s calling for one and it is the CT/MVO position that insists on the splintering of the text into as many sufficiently reliable versions that content our hearts. This is definition of schismatic.
7.) Our Greek and Hebrew texts differ in multitudes of places. Our foundations are different. If we are off by an inch at the beginning we will be off by a mile at the end.
8.) Our methodology is different. The CT/MVO position has little place for the Church’s input while running their methodology primarily and almost exclusively from academic sectors. Our methodology on the other hand grants the use and means of textual criticism but places its deliverances thereof under the authority of the Holy Spirit moving through His words in His people, the Church.
9.) The current CT/MVO position offers little or no exegetical, theological, or philosophical foundation for why they think themselves good and righteous in treating the Bible the way they do. We on the other hand treat the Bible the way we do because the Bible speaks of itself as one from one God to one Church for one salvation toward one Kingdom. No where in Scripture is the Christian called to doubt the content of Scripture or bracket the content of Scripture and certainly not to omit or add to the content of Scripture.
My point is, even if we admit that the TR and the CT are close in content or the KJV and the modern versions are close in content (which for us are problems in themselves), there still remains a series of other issues which reach far beyond a variant here or there.
Our resistance to the CT/MVO position is not merely textual but also methodological, philosophical, theological, exegetical, apologetic, socio-cultural, ecclesiastical, economic, and historical.
When a CT/MVO advocate claims that “weakness” is the same or close enough to “infirmity” we are not so truncated in our assessment as to merely attend to the textual apparatus. For us such claims could just as easily have methodological, philosophical, theological, exegetical, apologetic, socio-cultural, ecclesiastical, economic, and historical motivators which are neither objective nor right. And while we are at it, in many places we reject the CT/MVO assessment of the textual evidence as well.
9 thoughts on “Where the Conflict Really Lies”
“…the Traditional Text position or the Ecclesiastical Text position or the Confessional Text position or the Standard Sacred Text position…I would contend that all the position above hold to the same tenets but have particular foci. It is all the same position with different points of emphasis.”
Perhaps you might tease this out some time. Might make an interesting post, to clarify how each of these draw their names from emphasizing something different under the same umbrella.
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Thanks for the comment, Robert. That’s a great idea. I’ll do that for today’s post.
“It is all the same position with different points of emphasis.”
You cannot seriously believe that the position of Burgon is the “same” as that of Hills, Riddle and yourself—can you?
Thanks for the comment. Well of course, not exactly the same. But in broad strokes I would say they are the same. For example, my brothers are twins. They are not exactly the same, but they are still called “identical” twins.
Thank you. I’m aware that you’re not saying they’re “exactly the same,” but you are both stating and implying that they all hold “the same position” — at least in some meaningful sense, correct? (Perhaps this conversation would be best had over at the follow-up post, where you flesh things out a bit more.)
“Observation 2: Anyone who equates the Traditional Text position or the Ecclesiastical Text position or the Confessional Text position or the Standard Sacred Text position to the KJVO position as evidenced in the linked video above is simply and clearly ignorant or maliciously mischaracterizing the above positions. Such attempts to equate our position with KJVO represents a profound lack of charity and academic acumen.”
Again you write:
“Next let’s turn to the Confessional Text position which is most recently propounded by the likes of Dr. Jeff Riddle from Louisa, VA. Perhaps the modern progenitor of this position though is found in the work of Edward F. Hills in his work, The King James Version Defended aka Text and Time.”
With these two statements in mind, I’d like to offer some words from Dr. Maurice A. Robinson, they read:
“This is the situation with Hills, who — regardless of all his former training and apparently favorable comments regarding the Byzantine or majority text — is never willing absolutely to reject any KJV reading derived from a minority of Greek manuscripts (or even no Greek manuscripts whatever!). Through scholastic sophistry similar to that applied by most other KJVOs, Hills ultimately defends every aspect of the KJV and its underlying text, regardless of where the factual data might point. Like most other KJVOs, Hills also ignores the methodological dichotomy whereby he on the one hand claims Byzantine superiority while on the other hand he denies such in favor of minority or unsupported readings — this demonstrates a KJVO mentality quite clearly.”
Now, is Dr. Robinson to be labeled as, “simply and clearly ignorant?” Or is he to be declared guilty of “a profound lack of charity and academic acumen?” And finally, is he truly guilty of “maliciously miscategorizing” the position of Hills, and therefore Riddle by extension and default?
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Our harder words here on the blog and in conversation are pointed at what we call modern textual criticism – sometimes the secular version and sometimes the evangelical version. In all honesty, I regard Byz Prioritists/Majority Text adherents to be near my position on so many fronts it is difficult for me to regard them as opponents in the current text/version debate. I see great worth in the idea that the great number of Byz manuscripts bespeaks something of the Spirit working in His word and through His people. I also appreciate the implicit or even explicit call to a standard sacred text in the “Majority Text”.
In the Reformation there were two types: the Martin Luther type and the John Calvin type. The former was a “my way or the highway” kind of approach while the latter was a “we are going to have our differences but we can unite in the reformation of the Church” kind of way. I consider myself to fall into the latter camp. As a result, I appreciate all sorts of people from all sorts of ecclesiastical, theological, and philosophical perspectives so long as they aim at a standard sacred text. I consider the Majority Text position to be among those I appreciate.
I have great respect for Dr. Robinson and I understand why he uses the rhetoric he does in describing Hills. I do think Robinson reaches too far, but I would expect him to given his position.
While there is certainly differences between the MT position and the one propounded here, my aim and emphasis are not to take on MT adherents in any kind of polemical way. Our emphasis here is to address the Critical Text apparatus ensconced in the academy and the multiple version-onlyism in the prevailing ecclesiastical milieu. Others may wish to tangle with MT advocates but I find the MT position to be so close to mine that it is, again, difficult for me to take their position as an adversarial one.
That sounds like a much more respectful way of dealing with those who disagree with your own personal definition of terms — which is really what this is all about. (Namely, how are we to define KJVO?) And although I think you deserve credit for such a positive take (“blessed are the peacemakers”), I cannot help but notice the obvious inconsistency and bias here. There’s an old saying, ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,’ and unless you go about treating everyone with the same grace you’ve shown to Dr. Robinson, you would certainly be guilty of being a respecter of persons: And your statement, “*Anyone* who equates the Traditional Text position…to the KJVO position” would therefore become pointless!
Question: how do you define KJVO?
Thanks again for the comment, MMR. Again, while there are differences between our positions I do not regard them as significant enough to address in the current academic and ecclesiastical matrix of the 21st century. I would defend a Byz Prioritist before I would critique him, not so with a Critical Text scholar. Perhaps at some point in the future I would offer my thoughts on those differences but only when the entire text/version landscape has changed on a tectonic level, but not before then.
Additionally, I am not a respecter of persons. I am a respecter of arguments. The former is morally prohibited in Scripture and the latter is not.
I define KJVO as Double-Inspiration Ruckmanism.