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What is Standard Sacred Text.com? – Community

“The word catholic was used early on in Christian history to denote that which is believed everywhere: the whole deal. The heart of the word is Greek holos, meaning whole, entire, integral. It is not related to the English whole or heal. The linking idea is that you don’t want only a part, or you don’t want only to be associated with a part. You want the whole thing. And there is only one place to get it.”

ANTHONY ESOLEN, ANGELS BARBARIANS AND NINCOMPOOPS…AND A LOT OF OTHER WORDS YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW, 8-9.

Esolen, being a devout Roman Catholic, most certainly means that “one place” to be the Roman Catholic Church. On this point he has erred in a drinking-out-of-the-wrong-Holy-Grail kind of erred.

Still, he does touch on a central desire all true Christians have – to want the whole of Christian community in unity. The apostle Paul declares as much when he writes that we ought to endeavor “to keep the unity of Spirit in the bond of peace” [Eph. 4:3]. But the Spirit is never alone. He always accompanies the word of God and the word, the Spirit. As such the writer of Hebrews declares that the word of God is quick [i.e., alive]. Indeed, for many this is the greatest “proof” that Scripture is the word of God.

“Thus, the highest proof of Scripture derives in general from the fact that God in person speaks in it.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I, vii, 4.

The “whole of Christian community in unity” is an issue of unity in the Spirit and unity in the Spirit entails unity around the word of God. StandardSacredText.com aims to foster this unity around the word of God by offering resources and making arguments for the validity and benefits of having a standard sacred text for the English speaking believing community.

Certainly there will be some disagreement and where there is disagreement about strongly held convictions there can be friction between brothers in Christ. Indeed, that very well may happen. Still, we hope that while we may disagree about the mode of baptism or church governance we can agree that belief in a standard sacred text by the English speaking believing community would be a boon for the Church. Undoubtedly such a journey or process will be a messy one but as you and I consider the goal and benefits of such a conclusion perhaps you too will join in the effort.

Standard Sacred Text Is Now on Facebook

In approaching our 400th post we have decided to actively reach out beyond the blog and to make that first foray into the realm of Facebook.

All are welcome to join. We will be posting content there that will not be posted here. Additionally, we will start holding Facebook LIVE events every Saturday around 11am. We’d love to have you join us, ask questions, and glean useful insights into the Standard Sacred Text position.

https://www.facebook.com/Standard-Sacred-Text-105417532184254

In other exciting news, we just received our third volume in the Standard Sacred Text series from our proofreaders. This third volume is A Theological Grounding for a Standard Sacred Text. It is our largest volume to date and has received high marks by all those who have read it.

Lord willing, we will have it published in June and once we publish the work we will make it available for purchase on our Facebook page at a significant discount.

Is Multiple Version Onlyism Essential to Saving Faith

The egregious error of modern textual criticism and it evangelical surrogates is that the process is essentially Christless. Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, rather than being essential to the analysis is considered a liability of one’s theological precommitments. In what other venue or discipline of life would a faithful saint argue that Christ has no access to that part of one’s heart and mind? The synchronic worship of Jehovah and “their own gods,’ (2 Kings 17:33) is indicative of the theological schizophrenia of modern evangelicalism. “Sure,” our interlocular would say, “I’m a follower of Jehovah, but not when it comes to the analysis of Scripture texts. Then I’m a follower of Adrammelech or Anammelech.”

The following is an excerpt taken from the writing of Nathaniel Ingelo in his 1659 edition of The Perfection, Authority, and Credibility of the Holy Scriptures. In this pericope Ingelo addressed the Christocentricity of Scripture.

“After God had spoken by several parcels, and after divers manners by the Prophets, at last he sent his Son to perfect the book, write it in full, and seal it up: and this is so well done that whosoever shall add anything instead of mending the work, and doing the world a courtesy, he shall bring a curse upon himself: for Christ had made it a perfect Canon.

Now that appears thus. God hath declared Christ to be our Prophet, commanded us to hear him, told him all his mind concerning us, laid up in him all the treasures of divine wisdom He told his disciples, all that heard of his Father, had them go and preach it, and promised salvation to all that should believe it. Paul professed that he declared the whole counsel of God in his preaching and pronounced a curse upon any angel that should bring another Gospel. The Evangelist Luke wrote that Christ taught till his ascension, and Saint John added as much concerning the miracles of Christ, as was enough for motive to faith.”

In following paragraph, note the timeliness of Ingelo’s 17th century observations.

“From all which we argue, Christ was in the bosom of the Father, and knew all; he came from thence and told all, his Scholars at his command preached, and, for the benefit of future times, wrote all. We acknowledge they did, received their books, and are satisfied. Only the Papists and some other heretics, that they might have honor and profit to make supply, say they did not.”

In the 17th century only Roman Catholics and heretics were unsatisfied with the Received Text and KJV while today it appears that much of mainstream Evangelicalism has joined their ranks. What are we to make of this? Were Papists and heretics more orthodox than the Reformers gave them credit or is modern Evangelicalism a modern expression of 17th century Papal teaching and heresy on the Bible? I leave that to you to decide. Ingelo then asks an illuminating question:

“But who will believe them?”

Yes, who in the 17th century of those that name the name of Christ would believe the apologetics and polemics of Papists and heretics? The question is rhetorical. But who in 2022 are unsatisfied with the Received Text and KJV and believes the critics? Ingelo would be unable to ask the question today and expect the same answer. Evangelicals believe the critics as they embrace the eclectic reconstruction of the Protestant sacred text. Satisfaction is not a word that accompanies the Evangelical attitude toward the Bible. Indeed, dissatisfaction with the Bible has become a Christian virtue welcomed in Evangelicalism.

The last quote of this post is also thought provoking. Though stated within a redemptive context comparing salvation by grace and faith alone with salvation by grace, faith, and works, the idea of “necessaries to be believed” is insightful.

“When Christ says, Go and preach what I have taught you, and promised salvation to those which believe that and no more. They [papists, heretics] will make pretty work, that after this appoint other necessaries to be believed, (i.e.) such necessaries to salvation, as one may be saved and not believe them.”

Papists and heretics are saved by acts based on other ecclesiastically designated “necessaries.” Currently, Multiple Version Onlyism is an ecclesiastically designated necessary. No space exists in modern Evangelicalism for a standard sacred text. MVO must be believed, in addition to salvation by grace through faith which begs the question, “Can one be saved by grace alone by faith alone without being MVO? And if they can, then why is MVO necessary? And why is holding to a standard sacred text unacceptable?

When you are standing in the frame of 2022, you are too close to see the whole picture. When standing upon 17th century writings, from that distant perspective the whole picture comes into view. You see, to argue for the Christocentricity of Holy Scripture is to argue for historic orthodox Christianity. If you leave Christ out of the prolegomena, the result of such theological formulation is a Christless faith tradition.

Nathaniel Ingelo, The Perfection, Authority, and Credibility of the Holy Scriptures. Discoursed in a sermon before the University of Cambridge at the Commencement, July 4, 1658 (London: Printed by E.T. for Luke Fawn at the sign of the Parrot in Pauls Church-yard, 1659), 22-25.

A Little Leaven

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

I Corinthians 5:6-8

As some of you know the Lord has blessed my wife and I with 9 children so when my wife makes bread she makes a lot, sometimes up to 40 pounds of dough. She then bakes twenty 2 pound loaves and we freeze them for the week. Pop a frozen loaf into the microwave for 11 minutes on Time Defrost and and you get a delicious loaf of hot homemade bread ready for butter and honey.

Follow me for more cooking and baking recipes.

To the point, 40 pounds of dough takes a relatively small amount of yeast/leaven to cause the whole lump to rise. Paul warns the church in Corinth that such is the way with evil. A little evil, a little immorality will adversely affect the whole of one ‘s moral life. It’s a principle of Christian life as leavening is a principle in baking.

But not so in the Christian academic world. If leaven is that which is corrupt or that which is not from God, then the modern Christian academic world recognizes and admits there is leaven in the Critical Text and in the subsequent English versions of that New Testament. This is why the term “sufficiently reliable” is used rather than “utterly reliable” or “totally reliable” or even “certainly reliable.”

“The original text is in the body of the text or the apparatus,” we are told. Or, “Yes, there are errors or variants or uncertainty regarding this or that reading but on the whole no major Christian doctrine is affected.” I wonder how that plays out with Paul’s language quoted above? Perhaps it would go something like this:

“Yes, I know I have some small sins in my life but on the whole I commit no major immoral acts.” Most Christians would object to such a claim but they have little problem accepting and vigorously defending the argument that their version of the Bible has little problems, but nothing major.

Our opponents would have us believe that Paul’s text of Scripture at Paul’s time was not free from all leaven, while at the same time they claim Paul calls the Corinthians to a holiness absent all leaven of immorality. Again, the modern evangelical textual scholar has put the cart before the horse.

One can only be purged of their “leaven” if the thing doing the purging is equally as purged. Put another way, one can only be sanctified insofar as the thing doing the sanctifying is itself sanctified. We are told that there are word of men, albeit few and relatively meaningless per our interlocutors, among the words of God in the Greek New Testament.

That is, the word of truth which we are to be sanctified through is not itself perfectly sanctified. How then is the Christian to believe that they too have been called to perfect sanctification when the thing doing the work of sanctification [i.e., the Bible] is not itself perfectly sanctified? And with that question in the balance evangelical textual scholars then have the audacity to claim that no major doctrine is at stake.

But some might object, “No, it is the Holy Spirit who does the sanctifying work through the Scripture and not the Scripture itself. Therefore the Scriptures can be a little off and we can still be called to remove all leaven from our lives.”

I do not deny that the Holy Spirit does indeed affect sanctification in the Christian’s life, but the words of Christ are, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). No doubt, the Holy Spirit has a vital and primary role in the work of sanctification, but He does it only through His word and that is the emphasis of John 17:17. Unless of course you are Charismatic and you believe God still issues special revelation apart from Scripture but consistent with Scripture, but that is another blog post.

In sum, whether Christian academics like it or not, the term “sufficient reliability” claims that the whole of Scripture is not set apart unto God. Contained therein are the words of men, but that’s ok because no major doctrine is affected. In reply, “Of course major doctrine is affected. You are claiming a Bible which you admit has leaven in it and then you turn around and tell God’s people they can’t have any leaven in their lives.” The hypocrisy is palpable.

If God’s word can have leaven in it and remain morally upright then so can ours, and only out of the abundance of one’s heart does the mouth speak. Leaven in the heart is leaven in the mouth and leaven in the mouth is a sign of leaven in the heart.

When our interlocutors admit to leaven in the Greek New Testament they admit to leaven in the mouth of God and if in His mouth then in His heart.

Remember kids, no major doctrine is at stake.

Necessity, Sufficiency, and the Cursed Fig Tree

We hear over and over from CT/MVO academicians that modern versions are “sufficiently reliable.” When pressed on the meaning of that term it seems that they mean something like, “It is possible to be saved out of many of the modern translations” or “The general gist of all major Christian doctrine is present in most modern versions.”

I have no problem agreeing with the former and I suppose I do on the latter as well so long as we understand that the Action Bible and the Golden Children’s Bible do the same. But are the modern versions, being “sufficiently reliable, able to do what is necessary?

Can the stream be purer than the fount from which it springs? Good trees bring forth good fruit and bad trees bring forth bad fruit (Matt. 7:17), do they not? Is it not the case then that sufficiently reliable trees bring forth sufficiently reliable fruit? It seems so. And if Scripture is merely a sufficiently reliable tree then the fruit derived from the Scripture is also only, merely, sufficiently reliable.

And what kinds of fruit are derived from the Scripture? Knowledge of the Triune God. Faith that comes by the hearing of the word of God. Sanctification through the word of truth, and of course salvation itself. A sufficiently reliable fountain can only yield sufficiently reliable streams. And sufficiently reliable trees can only yield sufficiently reliable fruit.

There once was a fig tree which had no figs, but that was because it wasn’t the time of year for fig trees to bear figs. What did the Lord do to this tree? Did the Lord say, “Now there’s a sufficiently reliable fig tree. One day we’ll have some of its figs.”? No, it was quite the opposite. Christ cursed the fig tree because it was only, merely, sufficiently reliable. And why did He curse the fig tree?

The fig tree as a symbol of Israel represents their imperfect obedience, indeed, their hypocrisy. And how is it that one is to achieve perfect or complete obedience? Well, as was said above, if the tree is complete then the fruit which comes from that tree will also be complete.

Jesus says, Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Christ is recorded in several places saying that heaven and earth would pass away before the law would pass away, before a jot or tittle of the law would pass away.

Paul tells Timothy that the Scriptures make a man of God perfect or complete. Peter tells us that the Scriptures pertain to all life and godliness. The point being that if a soul is to be saved they need only a handful of verses to come to know themselves as sinner and Christ as Savior. Furthermore, the Bible is unnecessary to have a sufficiently reliable understanding of the major tenants of Christian theology. Erickson’s one volume Christian Theology offers a sufficiently reliable understanding of the major tenants of Christian theology though it is not a Bible.

But the Bible is not only for salvation, but also, and just as equally, for sanctification, for the perfection of the saint. And it is the word of God which does that perfecting. Again, sanctify them through thy truth thy word is truth, Jesus says.

If the word of truth is only a sufficiently reliable word of truth then its perfecting power is only sufficiently reliable. Christ did not come to bring a sufficiently reliable redemption; He came to bring a perfect and perfecting redemption.

Sufficiently reliable Christianity as born from a sufficiently reliable Bible is that cursed fig tree and that lukewarm Church which Christ can only spew out.

Modern Textual Criticism: A Deathwork (Part 2)

I came across a recent article by a New Testament scholar, Christ Keith, who made the following observations,

“Those of us who cherish biblical texts on some level or another also need to exercise the important and necessary right to disagree with the text.”

Indeed, the freedom to disagree with the text is almost necessary to the modern text-critical enterprise. At one point the story of the woman caught in adultery was considered Scripture but now most modern textual scholars disagree as is their apparent responsibility when faced with “sufficient” manuscript evidence.

The textual apparatus itself speaks to the inherent disagreement regarding the text even among textual scholars. Some readings get an “A” while others get a “B” and still others get a “C” or even a “D”. Not only do textual scholars disagree with the text as it was formulated they also disagree with each other regarding what is the correct reading.

Keith goes on to write,

“I saw a different claim in a social media… It said, ‘Either you believe the Bible or you don’t. Period. You can’t pick and choose which parts are true and which are false for the sake of your moral relativism.’ Nonsense. Believers or not, we recognize the distance between the biblical texts and ourselves all the time.”

Keith observes that some people claim, especially King James advocates, you can’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible are indeed the Bible and which parts are not. For the Standard Sacred Text advocate you either take it all as Scripture or leave it all to some degree of relativism.

Keith’s response is that such an opinion is “nonsense”. He goes on to explain that whether you are a believer or not it is quite obvious that the textual tradition is an ancient tradition and one from the Middle East and not from Middle America or mid-17th century England. It seems inappropriate then that TR/KJV advocates would seek to foist the language and culture of the King James English onto the Bibles of today. The Early Modern English of the KJV is outdated and needs to be changed. Sound familiar?

**********************

What if I told you that the above quotes were indeed written by a New Testament scholar, Chris Keith who got his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh and is currently the Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s University, Twickenham (London, UK)?

What if I told you further that Dr. Keith’s comments quoted above were not directed toward textual scholarship and against a standard sacred text?

What if I told you that Dr. Keith’s comments were actually from an article written today entitled, I study the Bible, LGBTQ kids deserve more empathy than Christian Academy provides: Opinion?

I would imagine that up to the ********************* above most textual scholars and for that matter most evangelicals would hardly demur from my observations, but as soon as Dr. Keith’s comments are understood in the context of LGBTQ+ rights then of course most evangelical academics would cry foul, That’s where we draw the line!, they might say.

So you can disagree about the text itself but not about content of what it teaches which was ultimately chosen by textual scholars? The text comes before the content. The fountain can be disagreed with but the streams coming from that fountain are incontrovertible?

You can recognize that the textual tradition is of ancient and foreign origin and therefore the academic pro’s need to do the hard NT text-critical work.

BUT

You may not recognize the teaching of the text as of ancient and foreign origin in order to do the hard work of queer theory or critical race theory.

My point is that modern textual criticism occupies the same space and even utilizes the same language and same behavior as queer theory and critical-race theory. Only the object of inquiry is different.

The queer theorist’s work is a deathwork to admire and then destroy traditional sexual roles and norms.

The modern text-critical theorist’s work is a deathwork to admire and then destroy the Traditional Text (i.e., TR/KJV) as rule and norm.

Perhaps one day we will all finally agree that the Modern Text-Critical King has no clothes.

Third World Modern Evangelical Textual Criticism as a Deathwork

Here at StandardSacredText.com we have repeatedly asserted that there was one autograph, there is one canonical apographa (the TR), and as a result it seems only natural to assert that there is one standard sacred text for the English-speaking Church. We believe that text to be the KJV.

We anchor our belief in the above because the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit speaks through His words to His people and His people through faith receive these words as the words of God, and not the words of men. In short, we anchor our belief in the Bible in a transcendent source. God the Holy Spirit is caring for His people and His words through His singular care and providence.

The man pictured above is named Philip Rieff, an American Sociologist and cultural critic who taught at the University of Pennsylvania into the late 20th century. Rieff’s thought features prominently in Carl Trueman’s The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self in offering a categorization of societal shifts.

Rieff construed societies under three categories when it came to their morality and moral underpinnings: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd world societies. These demarcations are not concerned primarily with geographical or economic concerns, but rather with moral concerns. Trueman, summarizing Rieff, observes,

“…fist and second worlds justify their morality by appeal to something transcendent, beyond the material world.”

Trueman, Rise, 75.

He goes on,

“First worlds are pagan, but that does not mean they lack moral codes rooted in something greater than themselves. Their moral codes are based in myth.”

Trueman, Rise, 75.

Regarding second worlds, Tureman writes,

“Second worlds are those worlds that are characterized not so much by fate as by faith. The obvious example here is Christianity.”

Trueman, Rise, 75.

Third worlds on the other hand,

“do not root their cultures, their social orders, their moral imperatives in anything sacred. They have to justify themselves, but they cannot do so on the bases of something sacred or transcendent.”

Trueman, Rise, 76.

So of course the question now is, Where do modern evangelical text-critical scholars root their moral imperatives to treat the Bible as they do?

As we have stated at the start of today’s post, we anchor our moral imperatives for treating the Bible as we do in the teachings of the Bible itself. God’s people know God’s words are God’s words because God’s people hear God’s voice in God’s words.

How does the modern evangelical textual scholar determine which words are the original words of the New Testament i.e., God’s words? Their answer, “Evidence and the interpretation thereof confined by the limits of their immanent frame.” And what is an “immanent frame”? Trueman explains,

“Rieff’s third worlds are the worlds of [Charles] Taylor’s immanent frame, where this world is all that there is, and so moral discourse cannot find its justification or root its authority in anything that lies behind it.”

Trueman, Rise, 77.

If you remember, we discussed Charles Taylor’s understanding of the social imaginary noting that the one’s social imaginary is a series of intuited beliefs held by a large group or even a nation.

Within the social imaginary of the modern evangelical textual scholar we see clear representations Rieff’s third world and Taylor’s immanent frame in that “the current manuscript evidence is all that there is.” The modern evangelical textual social imaginary has little problem claiming that we have all of the NT in either the text or the apparatus of the most recent Critical NT Text. And how do they know this? Based on the evidence we have. And how do we know the evidence we have is reliable? Because its the evidence we have.

In other words, to quote but modify Trueman above, “…so the modern evangelical textual discourse cannot find its justification or root its authority in anything that lies behind it.” And this is true both textually and theologically.

The former in that modern NT textual scholars will readily admit that they seek the initial text and not the original. Which is to say that in seeking they merely theorize about the text [i.e., initial text] which lies immediately behind the texts we currently have while simultaneously affirming that the theorized initial text is probably not the original text.

Nor are modern NT textual scholars keen on employing theological a priori in their textual decisions and therefore do not root their authority or justification in some metaphysical or theological foundation. Nowhere in the textual apparatus will you find appeals to the authority of Scripture or inspiration of Scripture in retaining a reading. Nor will you find in the textual apparatus “evidence” to omit a reading based on the fact that the Church knew about that reading and rejected that reading. All that matters in the apparatus and for that matter in the body, is how the evidence is weighed/interpreted by modern textual scholars.

For them and their complicit evangelical counterparts, the evidence is all there is and they do not find their authority or justification in anything which lies behind that evidence. Or, as Rieff defines it, such a third world culture is rightly understood as a deathwork, which is

“an all-out assault upon something vital to the established culture. Every deathwork represents an admiring final assault on the objects of its admiration: the sacred orders of which their arts are some expression in the repressive mode.”

Trueman, Rise, 96.

What is modern evangelical textual criticism than a deathwork, an all-out assault on something vital to established ecclesiastical culture – the TR/KJV of the Reformation? Wescott and Hort and their intellectual progeny persisted in this assault for over 150 years along with Marx and Darwin and Freud. Then in a most mercenary sort of way, evangelical academia has come along side to help in the deathworks. And do our opponents not admire that which they seek to destroy? Every time they spawn a new Bible they compare it to the TR and KJV. Why? Because they admire the unity that the TR/KJV brought and brings but they want to destroy the TR/KJV for the same reason. What is more, textual criticism insists that it is an art to that end and the practitioners of which see the TR/KJV as a repressive mode of the text-critic’s expression.

What more do we need? Modern evangelical textual scholarship is every bit a deathwork of Rieff’s third world and Taylor’s imminent frame.

So of course we resist these deathworks, and we do so with joy in our hearts for the opportunity to do so.

Orange County Scriptures

Years ago my Dad and I joked about making custom Bibles like Orange County Choppers makes custom motorcycles. We would use only quality materials and, at least back then, we knew Hebrew and Greek well enough to translate the whole Bible. I’m sure we could do the same now but we’ve gotten a bit rusty.

The proposed goal would be to take orders for custom Bibles which would include verbiage, social/cultural context, as well as questions about what kind of Scriptures you would like in the Bible. If you would like a vernacular derived from the Urban Dictionary, we could do that for you. If you would rather your Bible be in Irish Brogue or the slang of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we could do that too.

If you think the Bible should include the Apocrypha, consider it done. If you think miracles are untenable, consider them omitted. If there are passages of Scripture that you think belong in the Bible or ought to be omitted from the Bible based on your interpretation of the textual evidence found in the apparatus, we would make those adjustments for you. Then you could have a Bible that you really understand; one that fits your definition of sufficient reliability like a glove. No compromises.

And except for the “omission of miracles” option I’m sure most NT academics would consider our custom Bible products to be “sufficiently reliable” texts for leading one to salvation in Christ and to a certain degree of Christian growth and sanctification. So there should be little overall pushback from those who disagree with us.

Of course we find this whole idea of custom Bibles to be abhorrent and so the whole idea was in jest and ultimately in parody of our interlocutors.

In all seriousness though, when I was in Greek class we were encouraged to come up with our own translations and if we wished we could translate the whole NT and make that our NT. Which should be no shocker to anyone. Well known Bible software suites allow the user to do just that. In fact, the CBGM computer tools are geared and made available to preachers and laypersons alike to start such custom work based on the several deliverances of their respective minds. Regarding the CBGM, Wasserman and Gurry write,

“In our experience, scholars, students, pastors, and translators want to know why a part of their Greek New Testament is now different. They naturally want to understand what the change means and why they are being made. They also want to know how they can use the new method in their own work, but they have struggled to understand it.”

Wasserman and Gurry, A New Approach to Textual Criticism, 14.

And yet, as I have been observing lately, this is perfectly in line with Expressive Individualism and the rise and triumph of the modern self so masterfully examined and explained by Carl Trueman in his book by the same name. Consider this quote as Trueman delineates the transition in the West from mimetic/structured culture to poietic/performance culture,

“…institutions cease to be places for the formation of individuals via their schooling in the various practices and disciplines that allow them to take their place in society. Instead, they become platforms for performance, where individuals are allowed to be their authentic selves precisely because they are able to give expression to who they are ‘inside.'”

Trueman, Rise and Triumph, 49.

This is the position of the academic evangelical mind regarding the versions issue. – If you can, make your own so long as it is sufficiently reliable. The best Bible is the one that makes sense to you, they say. There are many good Bibles out there; read the one you like, it is said. And now, given the CBGM, preachers and laymen are encouraged to come to their own conclusions regarding the data. The Traditional Text argued by Burgon is out. The Ecclesiastical Text as argued by Letis is also out, so is the Confessional Text as argued by Riddle. A standard sacred text is also out. Why?

Because the mimetic world, the world of intrinsic meaning and intrinsic order has been/is being replaced with the poietic world which “sees the world [or Bible translation] as so much raw material [or manuscript evidence] out of which meaning and purpose can be created by the individual [custom Bibles via your own translations or that of a select committee]” [39].

We may be closer to Orange County Bibles than we originally thought.

The Problem with the Standard Sacred Text Position?

So why is it that so many reject the Standard Sacred Text position? What is it about the argument in general that demands intelligent well-meaning Christians reject its major points?

I’m quite certain that it is not the fact that we are arguing for a text as we do for the Standard Sacred Text position. Most of our opponents and interlocutors attest to the fact that the Scriptures as they belong to the Church are in written propositions and that the collection of those propositions is called the canon. This can’t be where the hang-up is.

I’m also quite certain that few in the CT/MVO side would demur on the point that the Scriptures, the Bible of the Church is sacred book. Most, I would say, agree that the Bible is come down to us from God via the inspiration. As a result, the book and its words are sacred. That is, they are holy or separate from other words, being God’s words. Hence the traditional moniker, Holy Bible. Again, I do not believe this to be the hang-up between our positions.

It seems to me that there is little friction between us and the Mark Ward’s, James White’s, and Elijah Hixon’s of the world on the points of the Church having a sacred text. The rub comes with the adjective “standard”, is it not? But why?

Assuming that any attempt to characterize the Bible has theological implications, then adding an adjective, a modifier to “sacred text” would be a theological addition. Here’s the formula: “The Scripture is a ________ sacred text.” So we could have, The Scripture is a sufficiently reliable sacred text, or The Scripture is a false sacred text, or The Scripture is a true sacred text. All of these examples have theological implications depending on the word immediately prior to “sacred text”. “Standard” is no different.

If someone would say that the Scripture is a false sacred text, then most Christians would resist that conclusion and that on the basis of the Scripture itself. We here at StandardSacredText.com ask, Does sound exegetical teaching from Scripture prohibit us from appending “standard” to our sacred text? Would such an action be properly understood as false doctrine? If so, we would love to see this robust thoroughgoing exegetical and theological truth.

But some might say, It is not enough to hold to a position simply because the Bible does not prohibit it. You must have positive argumentation from Scripture for why you do what you do. Fair enough, but first let me reiterate, to this point there is no prohibition in Scripture which teaches that we ought not treat our Bible as the standard sacred text, especially when the vast majority of both sides already agree that our Bible is a sacred text.

In brief, our arguments in favor of a standard sacred text are: First, there is no Scripture which compels the believer to hold to multiple versions of the Bible or to consider the NT in a constant state of revision. As such, the CT/MVO Christians must also provide positive argumentation from Scripture for their position if they would have us do the same if they intend their argument to withstand their own critiques. Such an appraisal is not and is not forthcoming, thus there is a theological vacuum and theology abhors a vacuum.

Second, and in reply, there is one God, one Father, one Son, one Spirit, one Church, one way to salvation, one heaven, one hell, one Apostle’s Doctrine, one Creation, one creative word, one faith, one baptism, one Lord, one Kingdom, one Gospel, one inspired autograph of each book of the Bible, the Church is one body, Christ is the one head, one Bride, one Bridegroom, one end of all Creation (i.e., God’s glory), one Eschaton, and one eternal state and on and on.

From the one Tree of Life and the one Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the one family in the one Garden of Eden to the one city of the New Jerusalem whose builder and maker is the one God it seems to us that the whole of the Christian faith from beginning to end, soup to nuts, points the Christian to a robust Theology of One. By induction alone it is rational to claim one Bible and one alone.

Theologically speaking and beyond the scope of mere inference, if the Scripture is the source of the Theology of One, for the Christian, it stands to reason that God’s word be a member included in the Theology of One. And if this is the case, as we believe it is, then Christians ought to believe God’s word is one, really and concretely. And if it is truly one then neither rival nor counterfeit can be its equal. Such a thing we call, standard. Thus we have little issue declaring that our Bible as God’s word is the standard sacred text for the believing community.

The other side of course would have difficulty arguing for multiple ways to heaven or multiple Brides for the Bridegroom or a sufficiently reliable God or a sufficiently reliable inspired autograph. But I leave these ponderings to those on the other side of the aisle.

Reconstructing and Deconstructing the Bible: A Historical Overview

**This post is part two of a series started here**

Let us begin with six men:

1.) Karl Marx (1818-1883) – Gave prominent voice to modern Communism and defined the oppressed as all those not in power. For Marx the Church/Religion is a form of power and therefore is an apparatus of oppression. Furthermore, the Church derives its power from the Bible and in Marx’s time, from the Textus Receptus of the New Testament. In Marx’s view the Christian Bible must also go seeing it too is a tool of oppression.


2.) Charles Darwin (1809-1882) – He of course gave prominence to the modern idea that man is merely material and at that, a descendent of more primal and less complex systems of life. God’s word did not create life; natural selection did.


3.) Frederick Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) – He is famously know for declaring that God is dead, and that we have killed Him. And if God is dead then what does that make man? Why, it makes him god for only a god can kill a god. In a world where both God is dead and we are gods there can be no meaning or at least not ultimate meaning to life, morality, and even words, especially the words of Scripture.


4.) Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) – He gave prominent voice to the modern psychologizing of the self and particularly that of sexualizing psychology clearly exemplified in his postulation of the Oedipus Complex where ever man desires to kill his father and sleep with his mother or the supposition that children are from birth sexual in their nature. Freud viewed the sexual moral norms of Christian drawn from Scripture as ghastly and atrocious infringements upon the very nature of the psychological and sexual self. Christianity and its Bible must be done away with if man is to truly be the self he is.

5.) B.F. Wescott (1825-1901) and F.J.A. Hort (1828-1892) – In the same century and in the same intellectual and social matrix Wescott and Hort did exactly what Marx, Freud, Darwin, and Nietzsche sought for, they rejected the New Testament of the Church – the source of the Church’s moral stances on the origin of species, sexual norms, the definition of personhood, and of justice. Wescott and Hort set the Bible of the Church aside and sought to examine the evidence afresh and anew, but in so doing either wittingly or unwittingly weakened the position of the Church in society.

Whether Wescott and Hort knew what they were doing, they nonetheless fulfilled the most basic desire and need for Marxism, Darwinism, and Freudian psychology to thrive – the destruction or diminishment of “oppresive” Christian systems as dictated by the the Christian Scriptures (which at this time in history was the TR) as the supernatural norm of human morals and definitional existence. As a result, even Christians in mainline Protestant denominations are now arguing for the moral uprightness of gay marriage, ethically sourced porn, and virtues of third-wave feminism. And those who are not seem ill-equipped to answer the apologetic call because their supernatural norm of human morals and definitional existence is only sufficiently reliable by some relatively unknown standard.

In Wescott and Hort’s rejection of the Church’s New Testament as a step in reconstructing the New Testament they abandoned the Spirit of God moving through the word of God in the people of God who then identify the words of the Good Shepherd in Scripture. Wescott and Hort traded this exegetically and theologically grounded epistemological means and traded it for a supposed “objective” method of scientific textual criticism. What is worse, so has most of Christian academia.

In other words, Wescott and Hort attempted to reconstruct the text of the New Testament (the TR) based on naturalist grounds and in so doing deconstructed the means whereby the Church comes to know the words of God as the words of God. This is not unlike the current ecclesiastical attempts at deconstruction regarding race or gender. In this way #MeToo and #WokeTheology are merely the social and cultural children of #ReasonedEclecticism.

Over the last 150 or so years since Wescott and Hort, evangelicals have joined the chorus and now we have no standard sacred text as a believing community. Now in the 21st century the Church is losing its grip on a standard definitions of marriage, gender, and sexuality. And why not. All that evangelical academics require is a sufficiently reliable text of Scripture. Though what amounts to “sufficient” remains unknown by scholar and laymen alike. As a result, it should be no surprise to the evangelical community that there are now calls for merely sufficiently reliable definitions of marriage, family, sexuality, and gender.

It sounds something like that which Christ condemned in Matthew 26:16-17,

“Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?”

Woe unto you blind guides. Which is greater, the Bible or the Bible that sanctifies the Church’s theology?

Modern evangelical academics are all up in arms about how modern sexual practices violate their stated theological statements regarding sex, but which is more holy – the Scripture or the theology of marriage, sex, and gender drawn from the Scripture?

If Christians can have a sufficiently reliable Bible, whatever that means, then Christians can certainly have a sufficiently reliable theology of marriage, sex, and gender, whatever that means.

By what measure you judge the Scripture is the measure by which your theology will be judged.