“The word of God is the direction whereby we may square all our thoughts, words, and deeds”

Here at Standardsacredtext, we make the case that the Scripture has always been read by the Church in “autographic terms,” that the extant Scriptures were considered to be the quod res, doctrina substantia of the Original. In the short excerpt that follows Samuel Trickett in 1656 writes of his English translation in terms of the “word of God” illustrating again what receiving the believing the extant Scripture in “autographic terms” means. Affirming the authority of Scripture in this manner, for Trickett and the covenant keepers throughout Church history, is how to “delight yourselves in the law of the Lord.” While the saint delights in the law of the Lord, he is suited to happily “square all his thoughts, words, and deeds” preventing a poorly lived life and the “wandering up and down, as blind men in the dark.”

It was not a small matter that Dr. White ignored Dr. Van Kleeck’s appeal to the historic reading of Scripture is autographic terms. What would White say to Trickett? And is not the way Trickett writes familiar to the ear? Trickett writes, to obey the Scripture he cites is to hear and obey the voice of the Shepherd in the heart. It would be interesting to hear what Dr. White would do with such an assertion.

“The word of God is the direction whereby we may square all our thoughts, words, and deeds, as David affirms. Psal. 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” It is a lamp, lanthorn, or a candle. Take this lamp not in your hand but in your heart, and it will light you heavenward, for without this we cannot live well, but shall wander up and down, as blind men in the dark….”

“The word of God is the bread of life. It is the effectual means and instrument which God uses to beget all saving graces within us. It is the heavenly manna whereby our faith is confirmed, and our souls comforted. It is a direction whereby we may square all our thought, words, and deeds. And it is the two-edged sword of God’s Spirit, whereby we may put to flight all the devil’s servants….”

“Let me humbly beseech you to labor – manifest your unfeigned love and liking of the word and law of God by your obedience thereunto, that you may desire to frame your live thereafter, and to obey the doctrine and word of God in the heart, and so be the ear-mark of his sheep. John 10: 4. 5. 27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one for another.”

  1. Consider God’s faithful servant David taking delight in his law, Psal. 119: 24, 25.
  2. Consider his commandments are amiable. Psal. 119:47, 48, “I will delight myself in thy commandments which I have loved.”
  3. Consider that this law confers peace. Psal. 119:50. “This is my comfort in my affliction, for thy word hath quickened me.”
  4. Consider it is a holy, just, and good law, and therefore to be delighted in, Rom. 11:12, 14, 16, 17.

O delight yourselves in the law of the Lord.”

Merry Christmas!

Samuel Trickett, Sermons Doctrinal and Practical (1656), edited by John Edward Blakeney (London: Printed by G. Norman, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, 1863), 65, 67.

Then He Poked The Bear: Episode 2

This week we continue working our way through Then He Poked the Bear, a small book written by Van Kleeck Jr. in order to stir the scholastic pot. In this episode Dr. Van Kleeck, assuming a merely evidential method, will offer one historical argument, one example, and one modern phenomenon all with the aim of casting doubt on the quality of the NT originals.

Because if we doubt our Bible’s now, at least a little, it is reasonable to conclude that the first century church doubted or at least had robust reasons to doubt their Bible back then. But if the first century Church was certain that Paul’s letter to Galatia was indeed the word of God or that John’s Gospel was the word of God, then we too can be certain today of the Bible we hold in our hands.

Christmas, providential preservation, and certainty

The interaction of the angel with the shepherds was so engrained in the hearts and minds of the early church that Luke wrote that his record was “most surely believed,” that he had “perfect understanding,” from which Theophilus and subsequent readers might know “the certainty of those things.” If it was not God Himself who preserved the infallible, inspired word, how could the Church ever know with certainty that the events of Acts 2 ever historically transpired, and if the events did not transpire, then the written record of these non-events are spurious. So, let’s say for the moment, we discount the historic orthodox manner these verses have been rendered and consider what might be an empirical defeater to this paradigm for manuscript transmission?

There is no empirical evidence of this event except for the witness of the shepherds. Manuscripts at this point are meaningless. Luke, or someone calling herself “Luke” may have just recorded a happy story that became a wide-spread myth. This event cannot be supported scientifically. Indeed, this announcement can be easily erased simply by arguing that the author’s fabricated account was a local fable that found its way into the real Luke’s gospel. The whole Gospel is not spurious only the conflation that includes Luke 2:1-20. After all, what makes these verses any different that John 7:53-8:11? It’s all just words on parchment. Luke was not in the field with the shepherds, nor was anyone else to corroborate the event. Even if it did happen, how reliable are shepherds to accurately report something of this magnitude. The story sounds like something out of a bottle not of divine significance, kind of like “snake handling” in Mark 16, or maybe like an Aesop fable of wonder and amazement but not an actual inbreaking of heaven to earth.

Before you can argue transmission, you must agree or believe the event being recorded happened. Luke recorded an event of the angel’s announcement to the shepherds. Was there a moment in time when the Apostle John wrote 1 John 5:7? Was there a historic event when Christ interacted with the woman caught in adultery? Did Mark write the long ending? How many times did Mark’s heart beat before he completed the Gospel? Because special revelation is grammatical/historical, word and event, if there is no written record, there is no way of knowing whether the historic event happened; if the event is in the text, because it is God’s word, it did happen. The present critical reconstruction of the text reconstructs the past when the unchanging past has already limited the veracity of the record. The past did not manifest itself in two simultaneous, contradictory events. Text critics are not so much students of ancient literature as they are manipulators of time. Call the manipulation what you want, just not truth or the New Testament. Did redemptive history unfold in the Biblical record or did it not? Orwell was correct, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” By critically reshaping the past, the future has been the splintering of the Church with multiple modern bible versions, and it is the present information dominance of the evangelical text critic that continues to reshape the past.

The witness of the shepherds is confirmed by Anna and Simeon, and then by the Wise Men, and then by the Father, Holy Spirit, and John the Baptist at Christ’s baptism, then the ministry of Christ, his death, resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, the Apostolic message, and the founding of the Church based upon inspired writings. All of this either confirms the witness of the shepherds or we are witnessing a complete 1st century ruse. Indeed, much of the Church is about to reinforce this transgenerational ruse on Christmas Sunday if it is not believed that all the past events of Holy Scripture are forever, unchangeably settled. And the only means of exercising that kind of faith this Christmas is to believe that the Gospel record has been providentially preserved by God and based on the introduction to Luke’s Gospel to have “certainty” of those things through the Word and Spirit.

Merry Christmas!

LIVE Lecture and Q&A w/ Dr. Van Kleeck Jr. – 12/13/2022

Tomorrow will be the second lecture of the Standard Sacred Text lecture series. We will begin at 7:30pm EST and will be held on the Zoom meeting platform. The lecture should run 50 or so minutes with LIVE interaction and Q&A both as the lecture is going on as well as afterward.

This week we continue working our way through Then He Poked the Bear, a small book written by Van Kleeck Jr. in order to stir the scholastic pot. In this episode Dr. Van Kleeck, assuming a merely evidential method, will offer one historical argument, one example, and one modern phenomenon all with the aim of casting doubt on the quality of the NT originals.

Join us tomorrow at 7:30pm EST by clicking the button below. See you there.

The Christmas Story and a Biblical Paradigm for Manuscript Transmission

Turning to the familiar passage describing the circumstances surround the birth of Jesus Christ in Luke 2, we want to examine the role the shepherds played in relaying an inspired message to those within their sphere of influence and especially the trust God placed in them.

Our first observation is that the shepherds represent the vast majority of all those God has called upon to serve Him. Most of the work of the Church throughout history has been performed by unnamed saints, just as the shepherds are unnamed. Within their epoch of time, believers lived with their families, friends, and acquaintances serving the Lord but have long since passed into glory.

And secondly, the shepherds represent most saints who had little if any formal theological training. The shepherds were not trained as were the lawyers and Pharisees in theological matters. They were simple men, common men of day, engaged in the humble and menial task of shepherding sheep. This post will argue that the capacity for the saint to recognize and comprehend the word of God has been underestimated by the academic elite and that God’s choice of shepherds to receive the inspired announcement gives an exegetical basis for that assertion.

Given these introductory observations we conclude that the individuals God trusted with an inspired, other-worldly message lacked both notoriety and specialized training, and that through the history of the Church these two characteristics are shared by most of the saints in the service of the Lord.

So what did God trust them with? God entrusted the shepherds with clearly comprehending the announcement of the birth of His Son. The angel of the Lord spoke to them with the full expectation and assurance that these humble, untrained men would understand what the angel would say. The angel spoke in words the shepherds understood, diction, grammar, and syntax that was not too complex for shepherds to understand. Understanding the angel did not take any special training. The angel spoke of things familiar to them – the city of David, v. 11 Bethlehem. Swaddling clothes, what you would expect a baby wrapped in, v. 12, lying in a manger, v. 12 – every shepherd knew what a manger was, which is to say, that the inspired words were suited to the shepherds. This is also the case made for the nature of the inspired written text. The language was suited to the reader and hearer in such a way that it could be easily understood.

We know what the angel said a transferal of the words of God because the angel’s words are part of the inspired record. The shepherd’s themselves say that it was the Lord that made these things known to them. Simple shepherds understood the word of God through the angels, while under duress and without any specialized training. That is, God speaks to the common man, the common man can fully comprehend the words, and this can be accomplished on an individual basis without institutional augmentation. For the shepherds, the entire episode was oral. They heard the spoken word of God and clearly understood.

Not only did God entrust the shepherds with the comprehension of the inspired announcement, but they were entrusted to act on the announcement to be the first outside witnesses of the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ – “let us go and see.” The announcement entailed a consequence for the shepherds. Having received the angelic announcement, they were to act upon it. A sign was given them to know they were at the right place.

It’s interesting to note, that the message was not rendered differently by each shepherd. What was known and agreed upon corporately. The fact that everyone heard the same thing, agreed on the same thing, and acted cohesively was a wonderful work of God’s grace in their lives. That is, the comprehension of God’s Word creates unity with such certainty that it will motivate the whole to a single purpose. This in turn speaks to the unity of the Church as it trusts a standard sacred text. A standard sacred text leads to unity in faith and action.

The shepherds hurried to confirm the message and found things exactly as they were told. They acted on the word of an angel fully believing that the angel spoke for God and what they were being told was absolutely true. We learn that the trust the shepherds had in the word of God, for believers, is inherent in the word. The angel did not have to make a case for the announcement’s truth; it was true because it was the word of God and as such announced a work of God. Because God said it, it is completely trustworthy, indeed, so trustworthy that it is worthy of faith to believe. We also learn that when God speaks, He makes it clear for everyone to understand. The angel’s message was not convoluted or opaque. When the announcement concluded none of the shepherds said, what was he trying to say? or I just don’t get it.

Do you think if the Sanhedrin had divine forewarning of the angel’s coming, that they would have sent shepherds to greet them? or would they have sent the best and brightest of the Hebrew scribes. After all, interaction with angels is not place for the common shepherd; to interact with heavenly beings, they would argue, requires a skill set only obtained by elite scholars. Besides, shepherds are too ignorant, they would just get it all wrong anyway. We need to send someone more reliable, more trustworthy to engage in this kind of work. And this is what we are told every day by evangelical text critics. The common saint is too unskilled to interact directly with providentially preserved word of God; they would just get it wrong, believe the wrong thing, trust the wrong thing, live their lives according to the wrong thing, act on the wrong thing, when all along it was the shepherd, the common man, that God trusts to get His most solemn work done. If critics were in the field that Christmas morning, after the announcement, they would have never made it to the manger. They first would have written an article and submitted it to a prestigious journal questioning the validity of what they saw, fearful of being overly dogmatic while maintaining their academic good standing. Simple faith and trust in God’s word is not their forte.

What should we learn from this?

1.         God uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise

1 Cor. 1:26-29, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:That no flesh should glory in his presence.

2.         God loves the common man – he made so many of them. God loves the Church and through the Word/Church/Holy Spirit dynamic God is driving redemptive history toward eschatological consummation. This dynamic works, though in part comprised of the common saint, because of the common man’s willingness to believe God’s word as taught by the Spirit.

3.         Being the common man makes you perfectly suited to be a servant of God – no specialized training is necessary to have a pivotal role in God’s eternal plan. God will use you. There were no scholars in the field the night the angels appeared, but “these men, at the bottom of the social scale in Israel, were chosen as the first preachers of the new-born King.” Pulpit Commentary

Then He Poked The Bear: Episode One

In this episode Dr. Van Kleeck explains the impetus behind Then He Poked The Bear and then goes on to lay the groundwork for subsequent arguments.

If we are allowed robust Christian precommitments regarding the state of the autographs at the time of their writing, then why not allow the same precommitments regarding the copy of God’s word in our hands? And if we are not allowed to say that every word of our Bible is from God based on what the Bible says about itself, then let’s be consistent and deny the assertion that first-century Christians believed every word of the original was the word of God. Perhaps the Church has never believed that every word of Scripture was from God.

Join us for the Tuesday Night Lecture Series

Standardsacredtext.com has embarked on the next phase of Bible defense with the introduction of the live Tuesday night lectures. After publishing three “Grounding” volumes and “Then He Poked the Bear,” this venue gives insights into the authors’ thoughts, research, and rationale behind the writing. Now approaching 600 posts, we receive feedback indicative of the deep inroads radically evidentialist presuppositions, arguments, and methods have infiltrated the Church. Not only will the lectures provide substantive, exegetical, theological, historical, and philosophical content, but they will show how the content within the given genre generates a systemic defense of Scripture consistent with historic, Christian orthodoxy.

“Then He Poked the Bear” with its metaphorically familiarity and humor, speaks to the hopelessness of modern textual critical methodology simply by citing the critics own evaluation of the process. With so much material, how then should the apologist organize and disseminate the data in the most compelling manner? Dr. Van Kleeck’s lectures will give suggestions on how the content of the book can familiarly transition didactically, apologetically, and polemically within academic and ecclesiastical settings.

Following Dr. Van Kleeck, Jr’s, lectures, Dr. Van Kleeck, Sr. will work through “Exegetical Grounding” laying out the inception of the study and pre-critical exegetical categories. In that all Systematic Theology to be theology must reside with the upper and lower control limits of sound exegesis, the second series of Tuesday night lectures will lay the groundwork for “Theological Grounding.” The format of the “Exegetical Grounding” Tuesday night lectures is in its formative stage but there are thoughts toward providing a companion workbook that would provide those tuning in with a reference guide on how best to answer anticipated questions and design a personal lesson plan for future teaching.

Life often gets in the way of well-meaning intentions, but I encourage all those, experienced and unexperienced in the text and Bible version debate to take advantage of the Tuesday night lecture series with Dr. Van Kleeck, Jr. If Tuesday night does not fit your schedule, the lectures are being posted to view at a later date. We welcome any questions that the lectures may generate to the end that a robust defense of a standard sacred text will in turn aid the listener in the continued defense of a standard sacred text.

We look forward to seeing you at 7:30 pm next Tuesday night.


LIVE Lecture and Q&A w/ Dr. Van Kleeck Jr.

Tomorrow will be the first of the Standard Sacred Text lecture series. We will begin at 7:30pm EST and will be held on the Zoom meeting platform. The lecture should run 50 or so minutes with LIVE interaction and Q&A both as the lecture is going on as well as afterward.

This week we begin working our way through Then He Poked the Bear, a small book written by Van Kleeck Jr. in order to stir the pot. In this episode Dr. Van Kleeck will give some background to the work, address theological precommitments, Wallace’s Dictum, and the meaning of “original”.

Join us tomorrow at 7:30pm EST by clicking the button below. See you there.

Tuesday Night Lectures w/Dr.’s Van Kleeck

Over the past year was have been cranking out the blog posts hand over fist. Material upon material. Starting next week we are switching the bulk of our content to a weekly [Lord willing] live lecture series where Van Kleeck Sr and Jr will begin lecturing through their printed works.

Lectures will be held live every Tuesday night @ 7:30pm EST.

Van Kleeck Jr will begin the lecture series with Then He Poked the Bear followed by Van Kleeck Sr treatment of An Exegetical Grounding for a Standard Sacred Text.

If you are not able to make it to the live lecture it will be edited and uploaded to YouTube for later viewing.

If you have any questions you can reach us in the comments section of this post.

Looking forward to seeing you all in class.