Welcome to those defenders of the providentially preserved infallible and available Scriptures as well as to those who have yet see the light of pre-Enlightenment Bibliology.
First off, starting next Tuesday (May 23) we will begin lecturing through A Theological Grounding for a Standard Sacred Text. The first lecture concerns the issue of first principles and particularly the role of Scripture as the principium cognoscendi or first principle of theological knowledge. Have you ever wondered if it is viciously circular to appeal to the Bible in order to defend the Bible? Have you ever thought the Bible to depend on some prior or more foundational authority? Maybe you thought that God undergirds the Bible as some more primary source of authority? These and other questions will make their way to the fore this coming Tuesday at 7:30pm. See you there!
Second, it occurred to me that in one respect we and our Multiple Version Only brothers agree on a very important premise. See, here at Standard Sacred Text.com one of our main points of argumentation is that the New Testament exists between two covers, in a single book we are currently able to hold in our hand and read from. This NT is called the Textus Receptus and particularly that publication of the Trinitarian Bible Society.
If you were to ask us, “What is the probability that the entire Greek New Testament exists between two covers?” We would reply, “Very high and the book which stands as the entire Greek NT between two covers is none other than the TBS Textus Receptus.” In fact, would would say that the probability is so high it is more like a certainty.
What do you think would happen if we asked the same of our evidentialist brothers on the other side of aisle? We know their answer. We’ve heard it over and over, “The original is either in the text or the apparatus of the current Greek NT (e.g., the Nestle-Aland 28th edition).” So what they are saying that it is highly probable even nearing (but never reaching) certainty that the entire word-for-word Greek New Testament is in NA 28 or some similar confession.
So then we both agree that at this current time in Church History that it is highly probable that the people of God have every word of the New Testament in their possession and between two covers.
So why the textual kerfuffle?
It seems to me that all the name calling, red faces, division, pretensions (i.e., the kerfuffle) revolves around one very simple fact. Our side is ready to pull the trigger about readings that the other side is not thus eliminating the need for belief in the “or the apparatus” clause like that of Wallace, Gurry et al.
And what is so unbiblical about not including said clause in our belief?
When boiled down our side is being castigated and ostracized because we exclude the “or the apparatus” clause from confession of belief that we possess the whole of the New Testament between two covers.
Certainly the Bible does not tell us to include “or the apparatus” as part of our confessed belief in Scripture so the reason for why our position is rejected and defamed is not because of some exegetical or theological grounding. Why then? Because we are not academic enough? That also seems preposterous.
In my debate with James White I offered philosophical arguments from properly basic Christian belief anchored in Reformed Epistemology as well as a new way of looking at probabilities as degrees of belief (i.e., Bayes’ Rule) rather than issues of frequency (i.e., Frequentist). Then Thomas Ross’ debate with James White was stuffed full of material – exegetical, historical, and logical. So much so that people’s one complaint about Ross was that he had too much material none of which was meaningfully refuted in the debate or after. In both debates we offered ample reasons to show why we do not and should not include “or that apparatus” in our confession of belief in Scripture. What is more, very little of this material – exegetical, theological, philosophical – is original to us. Which is to say, such academically rigorous material has been available, in some cases, for centuries, but roundly ignored. And of course, ignoring something does not make that thing any less true, rigorous, or academic.
So what’s the deal? Comment below. Tell us what you think.
See you all Tuesday for the beginning of our lectures through A Theological Grounding for a Standard Sacred Text.
4 thoughts on “Kiss the Royal Seal of “…Or The Apparatus””
I think any unbiased person could see that in your debate with Dr. White, you approached Scripture from a distinctly Christian perspective, with a Reformed, presuppositional (you even used the word at one point!) epistemology. Simply believe what Scripture says about itself! May God open His Church’s eyes to have a truly fundamentally Christian, believing, presuppositional approach to the text of Scripture.
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Amen and amen.
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AMEN – We all have faith in something when it comes to a position on a subject. At least I have faith in something present that is tangible compared to something that is not present that I cant defend (originals) or at the mercy of the best representation that is hoped to be correct (apparatus). It’s funny that the other side critiques our absurd faith but seems to me, theirs is more extreme than ours….
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Indeed. To borrow a phrase from Frank Turek, “I don’t have enough faith to be a textual critic.”
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