After listening to the Textual Confidence Collective [TCC], I couldn’t help but observe that they did little to move the discussion down the road. They certainly took the opportunity to stump for their side, but as far as answering the pressing questions of authority and certainty, the whole performance fell flat.
It also dawned on me that our interactions with fellow Christians on the point of the text and versions may be far simpler than those of the TCC would like us to believe. In light of that possible, indeed probability, I would like to propose a revolution in the discussion, a revolution with an aim toward simplicity.
First, even though the following proposes a simple and repetitive approach, that does not excuse us from continuing in ardent study of the word of God and of the issues surrounding the text and version discussion. Study hard. We will need it if this revolution works.
Second, I propose that we ask the same questions in the same order, and never to veer from this stated course until our interlocutor’s have clearly answered the questions. There will be a temptation to chase a rabbit trail or to comment on some side comment. Resist those temptations and stick to the question at hand.
I propose the questions and the order to be:
1.) Ask, “Does the English-speaking Church have the whole inspired infallible word of God in her hand, no more no less?
A.) If yes, “Show it to me. Name it.”
B.) If no, shake off the dust of your shoes.
2.) Press your interlocutor into naming one version. If he says he believes the NIV, ESV and CSB are all the inspired infallible word of God then pick one and go to question #3.
3.) Assuming the ESV, ask, “Is the story of the woman caught in adultery [John 7:53-8:11] which is in your Bible the inspired infallible word of God?”
A.) If yes, ask, “Is it morally right before God to put brackets around that passage seeing that it is no different than the rest of God’s word?”
B.) If no, take your interlocutor back to question #1, because he said that the English-speaking Church had the whole inspired infallible word of God in her hand, no more no less. The presence of the woman caught in adultery in the ESV, by the lights of your interlocutor, is an addition of twelve verses.
Conclusion: Your interlocutor does not believe the English-speaking Church has the whole inspired infallible word of God in her hand, no more no less.
This line of questioning yields all kinds of benefits:
1.) It is a simple formula that does not expect extensive seminary training. Anyone can use it.
2.) It is relevant in the English-speaking context in that focuses on a English version as being the whole inspired infallible word of God in her hand, no more no less.
3.) It is possible to use this formula in defense of a Greek text as well [i.e., the TR] with only minor modification.
4.) This series of questions really gets to the crux of why we argue for the Confessional Text or a Standard Sacred Text. A corrupted text is not a preserved text. A corrupted text cannot be a standard sacred text. A corrupted text cannot be the object of faith neither in part nor in the whole.
5.) If we insist on starting our discussion and disputes in this way then we will be able to collate a data set somewhat representative our opponent’s position and particularly the elements of academic teaching making it down to the street level if you will.
6.) When you employ this method or something close to it, we’d love to house screenshots of that interaction here on StandardSacredText.com. Once you take the screenshots or have transcribed a person-to-person conversation you can email them to email@example.com and we’ll post the results for others to observe, make analysis, and learn from.
Sound good…sound good? Alright everyone bring it in. 1…2…3…REVOLUTION!