Carson’s Confusion

Thesis 6: The argument that defends the Byzantine text by appealing to the providence of God is logically and theologically fallacious.

This assertion is of course logically and theologically fallacious. On the next page (56) Carson reverses himself and writes, “God, it is argued, has providentially preserved the Byzantine tradition. That is true….” Was Carson “logically and the theologically fallacious?”  

In thesis 6, Carson interprets divine providence in such a way as to reinterpret the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith, where “kept pure in all ages” does not mean kept pure in all ages. He does so from a radically historical perspective while identifying as a Christian author. “The process by which the words of the Canon were collated cannot be classified, categorized, or easily referenced because all external criteria for canonicity fails. Also, because the result of divine providence is only recognized after the fact.” How God kept his word pure in all ages is a historic algorithm of divine proportion, that he did preserve his word pure is a as sure as the promises of God – Psalm 12:6-7; Prov. 30:5-6. While he agrees that the Byzantine text type has been providentially preserved, he also argues that all the other so-called “text types” have been providentially preserved. This is of course true as was argued in Theological Grounding. What he fails to recognize is the role of the Holy Spirit, text of Scripture and Covenant keeper who function providentially within this providential context. He writes as if providence is some sort of deistic power void of the moving of God through the Spirit, Word, and Believer.

Because it has been some time since Carson’s book has been considered, allow me again to cite Myths and Mistakes on the so-called Byzantine text type. In Myths and Mistakes, we read “The entire textual stream – including the Byzantine tradition – is far more stable than typically admitted.” p. 115, and on p. 116, “Distinctly Byzantine readings often have ancient roots.” Carson, in writing this book, has forever demonstrated the true fallacy of writing dogmatically in a disciple that is perpetually changing. Carson’s primary target of ridicule has critically proven to be unworthy of Carson’s condemnation. If you were to take the pejorative content relating to the so-called Byzantine text type out of Carson’s book, the volume would look more like a drive-in menu than a scholarly offering.

Carson then hypothetically appeals to a growing population and the expected abandonment of the King James Bible to Multiple Version Onlyists. For English reading people, none of the Multiple Versions Onlyist texts have surpassed the popularity of the King James Bible. The now feckless prediction has been proven false, a reminder of how much credence a misguided, that is someone not guided by the wisdom of God in His Word, should be given no matter what his credentials.

If one were to embrace Carson’s “plea for realism” your life would be lead astray by the pretend world his book creates, and in a desperate way, in that, by making Carson’s confusion regarding Scripture your confusion, the source of true meaning would be obscured or for some, much worse, and forsaken.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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