The Emotional Trauma Behind the Textual Confidence Collective

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.

7 thoughts on “The Emotional Trauma Behind the Textual Confidence Collective

  1. I was also disappointed at this first podcast. They seem to present themselves as “I used to be KJV only”, so I know first hand how stupid you people are. Yet their defense of their new, enlightened position of doubting God’s Word continues to be some personal anecdotes and “this is science, so I don’t need to defend it theologically”. They just refuse to concede it is a spiritual exercise being conducted largely by unbelievers (i.e., actual textual criticism), whereas most of the evangelicals involved are very, very few, the majority of which are popularizers rather than genuine practitioners (read that, “useful idiots”, in the technical sense). I will continue to demand of them a Biblical defense for why reasoned eclecticism (i.e., no Christian ever read a Bible remotely close to the one modern text critics have “reconstructed” over the past century or so) can be the fulfillment of God’s promise to preserve His words for all generations.

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  2. It is written, Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

    The “science” of modern text criticism does not give us truth, not ever. Here are some good quotes, first from my favorite Christian philosopher, Gordon H. Clark and the rest from an atheist philosopher that the modern scholars should take to heart.

    “Instead of being the sole gateway to all knowledge, science is not a way to any knowledge.” Gordon Clark, The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God.

    I think that we shall have to get accustomed to the idea that we must not look upon science as a ‘body of knowledge,’ but rather as a system of hypotheses; that is to say, as a system of guesses or anticipations which in principle cannot be justified, but with which we work as long as they stand up to tests, and of which we are never justified in saying that we know they are ‘true’ or ‘more or less certain’ or even ‘probable.’ — Karl Raimund Popper The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959), 317

    The old scientific ideal of episteme — of absolutely certain, demonstrable knowledge — has proved to be an idol. The demand for scientific objectivity makes it inevitable that every scientific statement must remain tentative for ever. (1959)
    — Karl Raimund Popper
    The Logic of Scientific Discovery: Logik Der Forschung (1959, 2002), 280.

    “All scientific statements are hypotheses, or guesses, or conjectures, and the vast majority of these conjectures … have turned out to be false. Our attempts to see and to find the truth are not final, but open to improvement; … our knowledge, our doctrine, is conjectural; … it consists of guesses, of hypotheses, rather than of final and certain truths. Karl Popper

    The modern science of textual criticism is a fool’s errand based upon rationalism, empiricism with presupposition that are not derived from Scripture and methods that do not come from Scripture, the whole system rejects Sola Scriptura and therefore the Christian must reject the whole endeavor including the texts they have created.

    The textual scholars should humbly spend time in study and prayer in 1 Corinthians Chapters 1-4 learning about Biblical epistemology so they might repent and come to the knowledge of the truth.



    1. Thanks for the comment, Ron. I agree. If science is not aimed at certainty and faith can only rest on what is certain then a Bible assembled via science is by its nature uncertain and therefore faith cannot rest on it. And still Christians wonder at Bart Ehrman’s rationale for abandoning the faith. I just looked at this quote this morning. It’s from 1696:

      Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology vol. 1, 71. “Unless unimpaired integrity characterize the Scriptures, they could not be regarded as the sole rule of faith and practice, and the door would be thrown wide open to atheists, libertines, ENTHUSIASTS and other profane persons like them for destroying its authenticity (authentian) and overthrowing the foundation of salvation. For since nothing false can be an object of faith, how could the Scriptures be held as authentic and reckoned divine if liable to contradictions and corruptions? Nor can it be said that these corruptions are only in smaller things which do not affect the foundation of faith.”

      Note that last line. My how we have strayed from the robust Bibliology of the past.


  3. This take is as inaccurate as it is uncharitable. I’m a personal friend of two of these men, and they did not change their bibliology based on the institutions they attended. Rather, Peter and Tim both studied KJVO books and resources while a part of KJVO institutions, and found them lacking. They did not change opinions based on the institutions they were in; rather, they changed institutions because of the opinions which they reached. Rather than caving in to the peer pressure of academia as you imply, they stood against the peer pressure of the KJVO circles in which they were raised because of the convictions they developed. It’s inaccurate to misread their journey as a tale of young men who go to seminary and lose their faith through the teaching of liberal professors.


    1. Thanks for the reply, Daniel. While I appreciate your story, what you have offered in no way illuminates their or your position. It appears to be a mere biased opinion with little explanatory scope.

      All I have done is take their word for it as I have now listened to them for four hours. 1.) They were KJVO and their description of their version of Bibliology is is about as weak as it comes. The capacity of their Bibliology to show what they believed was effete. 2.) Given this profound weakness it is no wonder their Bibliology crumbled. 3.) After crumbling, the two you mentioned experienced terrible trauma from their respective familial and ecclesiastical communities. 4.) I assume they then sought out a replacement. 5.) They don’t have to get formal schooling for my point to stand. The point is that in seeking a replacement Bibliology they ended up with a Bibliology that lacks considerable force and scope specifically in the realms of epistemology, preservation, first principles, and the exegesis to support these truths. The position they hold to is the position of the wider academy. 6.) Indeed, their exegesis is grossly out of line with any historical understanding of the text, Protestant or Catholic, and is most in line with Post-Modernism that defines the TCC’s Bibliology.

      I am not making this up. They have all but admitted these truths in the last 4 hours of the TCC. The problem is that no one, not their professors, not their pastors, and not their friends have called them out on it. So I call them out on it and people get upset. Why doesn’t the TCC just admit that their novel Bible is a product of novel exegesis and novel theology. That is far more honest and relevant to their position than this attempted pretending to “be in the line of the KJV translators” or Reformed in their Bibliology. William Lane Craig recognizes this very thing. He reinterprets God’s sovereignty in terms logical dependency and Creation as mytho-history. That’s honest work because Craig doesn’t pretend to be in line with the Reformers. In fact, he has little trouble saying he strongly disagrees with them on these points. James White is the same. Quote a Reformer or two to him and he’ll call you a Reformation worshiper. But at least White is consistent. He has abandoned the Bible of the Reformation and so he has diminished or disregarded the theology of that era. I just wish the TCC would be honest and do the same, but that is whole other point.


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