Having watched the first episode of Mark Ward’s Textual Confidence Collective it seemed to me that all those involved, with possible the exception of Hixon, were taught poor Bibliology. That Bibliology could not stand significant scrutiny which led to traumatic experiences for at least Mark, Peter, and Timothy. For the latter two there was familial upheaval where they were accused of apostatizing from the faith by varying degrees.
It seems that their turn from KJV-Onlyism happened just prior to their enrollment in higher-education or at some point during their higher-education experience. Again, this turn left them as Christians exposed to all sorts of theological dangers and uncertainties. To the man, they went to schools that embraced modern textual views on the manuscripts and the version issue but they were without an anchor in Bibliology because the Bibliology they were taught as young men basically disintegrated out from under them as it fell under academic scrutiny.
But while in college or seminary each man found greater stability in the position of their professors and in the modern books that they read when compared to the Bibliology they were taught as young men. Admittedly, modern text-critical arguments have explanatory force and scope in ways KJV-Onlyism does not.
Unfortunately, the members of the Collective now cling to that stability like the KJV position they formerly and desperately clung to. I can’t help but see the comparison between the journey of those in the Collective and that of Bart Ehrman. Ehrman was once an evangelical going to trusted evangelical institutions of higher learning, as Mark Ward likes to prop up.
One day Ehrman’s understanding of Bibliology did not stand up to academic scrutiny, in fact some professing evangelical scholars undermined his understanding of Bibliology, and so Ehrman began to doubt the Bible and naturally began to doubt Christianity seeing that Christianity is wholly based on the Bible. Now Ehrman is a leading scholar in the field of textual criticism and a staunch opponent of Christianity.
Those in the Textual Confidence Collective seemed to have a similar journey, though by God’s grace they did not come to doubt all of Christianity when their Bibliology failed even though “doubting all of Christianity” is the logical next step when one’s epistemological ground [i.e., the Bible] is doubted. Still, instead of building a robust Pre-Enlightenment Bibliology/Reformed Bibliology they embraced much of Ehrman’s position with some Christianity sprinkled in. In short, the Collective went from the frying pan into the fire.
Of course, the benefit of the Collective’s current position is that most academics think what they think so they have more friends and it is also a much safer place for them versus being out on the fringe of KJV Onlyism. The problem is that the place where they landed is equally as wrong but nearer the liberal distinctively non-Christian side of the pendulum swing. In sum, they’ve traded one bad Bibliology for another.
The primary lesson we learn from this is that families and specifically dads need to teach their kids the truth with all of its difficulties and nuances. This means that dads need to take the time to learn all the difficulties and nuances of the things their family needs to know and of the things which come to challenge his family in our current socio-cultural context.
It is interesting, in Paul Vitz’s book, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism he examines the lives of famous atheists up until modern day and makes the argument that a major contributor to an athiest’s atheism is the fact that he often has a bad relationship with his earthly father which contributes to his rejection of his heavenly Father.
After hearing the testimonies of the Textual Confidence Collective I could not help but see the correlation with Vitz’s book. Certainly we cannot teach our children all they need to know to live a full Christian life but we can lay solid nuanced groundwork while keeping the lines of communication open with our growing children. When we fail as dads it is clear that our failures can and in many ways do adversely affect Christ’s Kingdom.
Dads, stay vigilant. Seek the truth. Buy the truth. Sell it not and by God’s grace neither will your children.