Weekly Question – God’s Command

God spoke commands, thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. But isn’t it the case that the very speaking of God is also a kind of implicit command? Is there any sense in which when God speaks the human creature may ignore that speech? Is there any speech of God which does not carry this implicit command to “Give ear to what God has said”? If so, are we not commanded to hear every word? If we are commanded to hear every word but we do not have every word then God holds us to a command that we cannot fulfill even in the Spirit.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

One Lord. One Faith. One Bible?

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Ephesians 4:4-6

John Calvin writes in his commentary on the above passage from Ephesians, “Some consider the unity of the Spirit to mean that spiritual unity which is produced in us by the Spirit of God. There can be no doubt that He alone makes us “of one accord, of one mind,” (Philippians 2:2,) and thus makes us one; but I think it more natural to understand the words as denoting harmony of views.”

It seems fair that we have a harmony of view regarding Christ as Head, the Christian calling, Christ as Lord, and God as Father. The Cross is exclusive in its efficacious work. There is only one way to salvation. There is only one true faith.

Calvin goes on to write regarding verse 4 “that we are subject to a law which no more permits the children of God to differ among themselves than the kingdom of heaven to be divided.” And what exactly does this look like? Recall the words of Jesus as he taught the disciples to pray, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The unity on earth is to mirror the unity in heaven and in one particular way. We must be united in the will of God and that it be done.

For the cessationist, what is the revealed will of God on earth in the present church age? The word of God, Scripture, is that revealed will. In commenting on verse 5, Calvin observes that “Christ cannot be divided. Faith cannot be rent. There are not various baptisms, but one which is common to all. God cannot cease to be one, and unchangeable.” We are no more permitted to differ over what words are God’s words than the kingdom of heaven is to differ over which words are God’s words.

Where do we learn that there is one Lord, Christ? The Bible. Where do we learn that there is one faith? The Bible. Where do we receive faith? By hearing the Bible. Where do we learn that there is one God? The Bible. Where do we learn this one God is Father to the Christian? The Bible. Where do we learn of the one Holy Spirit? The Bible. Where do we learn from this one Holy Spirit? The Bible. Yet the epistemological source, the ground and foundation of where we learn all these “ones” is not one. The English-speaking believing community does not have one God’s word from the one Spirit to learn of the one God, the one Spirit, the one faith, the one Lord.

We here at StandardSacredText.com concur with Calvin in confessing that “Christ cannot be divided. Faith cannot be rent. There are not various baptisms, but one which is common to all. God cannot cease to be one, and unchangeable.” And as such, There cannot be various God’s words, but one which is common to all. God’s word cannot cease to be one, and unchangeable.

Apographa

copies of an original;

specifically, the scribal copies of the original autographa (q.v.) of Scripture.”

Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology, Term: apographa.

The term apographa deserves close attention in that the documents were not merely understood to be copies of copies of copies, but for the Protestant Scholastics and for us here at StandardSacredText.com the apographa is in one sense the copies of the original autographa. Muller observes under the same entry,

“The Protestant scholastics distinguished between the absolute infallibility of the original copies of the biblical books and the textual imperfection of the apographa.”

Muller, Dictionary, apographa.

For the Protestant scholastics there were two kinds of “copies.” First, there were the copies which made up the sacred text of God’s people from which the Protestant scholastics did battle with Roman Catholic apologists. Second, the apographa as “manuscript tradition” which though essentially correct, did possess imperfections which Protestant scholastics thought easily remedied through “their exegetical method intended, by means of mastery of the languages and the comparative study of the extant texts, to overcome errors caused by transmission.”

“In addition, the Protestant orthodox held, as a matter of doctrinal conviction stated in the locus de Scriptura Sacra of their theological systems, the providential preservation of the text throughout history.”

Muller, Dictionary, apographa.

This “matter of doctrinal conviction” is born out quite clearly in the declaration of the Westminster Confession of Faith 1.8:

“The Old Testament in Hebrew…and the New Testament in Greek…being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical.”

Westminster Confession of Faith, 1.8.

In short, first, the historic Protestant orthodox position on this point was to hold that the original text they held to as the sacred text, which was a copy, was equal to the autographa. Second, the textual tradition [i.e. the apographa] did indeed possess corruptions, but these corruptions could be easily overcome through “their exegetical method intended…to overcome errors caused by the transmission of the text.”

What is Standard Sacred Text.com – Text

Before addressing a topic so fundamental as the doctrine of God, Francis Turretin begins his Institutes of Elenctic Theology with a discussion on the doctrine of Scripture. Turretin is writing in the third wave of the Reformation and the struggle over the certainty and authority of the Scriptures was still a hotly contested locus between the Protestants and Catholics.

In his second topic and second question, Turretin asks,

“Was it necessary for the word of God to be committed to writing? We affirm.”

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Vol. 1, Second Topic, Q. 2.

He goes on to remark on the three things which prove said necessity: “1.) the preservation of the word; 2.) its vindication; 3.) its propagation.” Turretin offers a summary of these three when he writes,

“It was necessary for a written word to be given to the church that the canon of true religious faith might be constant and unmoved; that it might easily be preserved pure and entire against the weakness of memory, the depravity of men, and the shortness of life; that it might be more certainly defended from the frauds and corruptions of Satan.”

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Vol. 1, Second Topic, Q. 2, Sec. VI.

Note the timely and relevant language here. Turretin, writing in 1696, acknowledges the weakness of memory which is an Achille’s Heal of mere oral tradition, the depravity of men to alter the word of God, the brevity of human life, and finally Satan himself as corruptors of the Scriptural text. For Turretin and the Reformers in general, the textual issues is at the bottom a moral, generational, and spiritual one.

Observe even further that although a great bit of artillery is aimed at “the canon of true religious faith” Turretin declare that the writing of Scripture “remains constant and unmoved.” The very writing of the Scriptures ensures for the Reformers an easy preserved, pure, and entire written word of God.

Simply put, we here at StandardSacredText.com hold to the same conclusion. God gave His word in written propositions easily, purely, and entirely. Those same propositions, by virtue of being God’s propositions, remain easily, purely, and entirely preserved in a single standard sacred text. We here at StandardSacredText.com hold that text to be the union of the Masoretic Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, and the 1881 Scrivener’s Greek New Testament. Regarding the English-speaking believing community. We believe the King James Version to be the standard sacred text for the English-speaking believing community.

William Whitaker and Revelation 20:18

Welcome to the Brickyard. This is a place to find quotes for use in your own research. The bricks are free but the building is up to you. The following quotes are from William Whitaker on Revelation 20:18. He originally wrote them in 1588.

“For we may, by parity of reason, argue thus: The authority and analogy of the other books is the same: if, therefore, it be not lawful to add to this book, then, by parity of reason, it will be unlawful to add to any other book, or detract from it.”

William Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture, trans. and ed. William Fitzgerald (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2005), 622.

“Those, therefore, who add any thing to the scripture itself, or take any thing from it, are obnoxious to this denunciation.”

William Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture, trans. and ed. William Fitzgerald (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2005), 622.

“I confess that the apostle denounces an anathema against those who add any thing to that word of God which he preached; but I maintain that the whole of that word is contained in the scriptures.”

William Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture, trans. and ed. William Fitzgerald (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2005), 623.

What is Standard Sacred Text.com – Sacred

Eminent scholar, Daniel Wallace opines in the following manner,

“I would question whether it is an epistemologically sound principle to allow one’s presuppositions to dictate his text-critical methodology. This is neither honest to a historical investigation nor helpful to our evangelical heritage.”

Daniel Wallace, “Challenges in New Testament Textual Criticism for the Twenty-First Century” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Vol. 52, Iss. 1 (March 2009): 79-100. 93.

Here at StandardSacredText.com we do not question whether it is an epistemologically sound principle to allow one’s theological presuppositions to dictate text-critical methodology. Indeed, we argue the opposite. We argue that it is honest to historical investigation. Why? Well of course the Scriptures are historical particulars but so is divine revelation.

The fact that the Red Sea parted is a historical fact. According to the Christian worldview, the fact that God made the Red Sea part is also a historical fact. In fact, divine revelation is just as much a historical “artifact” as the physical document we call the Scriptures. The apostle John’s writing of the gospel of John is a historical fact. In the same way, according to the Christian worldview, God’s inspiring John to write the inspired words of the gospel of John is also a historical fact.

As such we do not exclude the Triune God or Christian theology from any of our academic endeavors whether that be linguistic, scientific, historical, or other. What we believe about what the Bible says about itself is sacred issue, indeed, a sacred duty. And by sacred we mean set apart to God. Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 10: 31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Text-critical method falls under “whatsoever ye do. ” If the glory of the Triune God is your aim in text-critical methodology then it seems something of your theological presuppositions is dictating your methodology.

If God’s glory is not the aim of the Christian, then said Christian violates Paul’s injunction. Certainly we would say this of a marriage which has some other aim. Or a business which has some other aim. In fact, some may say that this “other aim” may amount to idolatry.

“The glory of the Triune God” is a theological presupposition.
A: All the things a Christian does should be done to the glory of the Triune God.
B: Text-critical methodology is something a Christian does.
Conclusion: For a Christian, text-critical methodology should be done to the glory of the Triune God.

Weekly Question – What if we had a Standard Sacred Text?

What if we had a standard sacred text?

Say the English speaking believing community were to arrive at and agree on a standard sacred text. What negative outcomes do you think will come about? What are the cons? How would the Church be injured? What does the worse case scenario look like? What is the likely scenario? Why is such the case?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

What is Standard Sacred Text.com – Standard

The term “canon” means rule, reed, or standard. We often refer to the Scriptures as the canon of Scripture. This is to say that the Scriptures are the rule, the reed, and the standard. Just as the Triune God is the archetypical Rule, Reed, and Standard so also the Scriptures are rule, reed, and standard. As the London Baptist Confession puts it,

“The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.”

London Baptist Confession, On Holy Scripture 1. i.

Note the orthodox formulation concerning the extent of this rule. It is not merely infallible in issues of salvation but also in issues of faith. Indeed, the canon of Scripture reminds us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” [Rom. 14:23]. This is to say that Scripture is the standard for an entire life lived in faith not only the standard for salvation. Remember the words of the apostle Peter in that the Scriptures have given unto us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” [II Peter 1:3]. Furthermore the Confession goes on to say that the Scripture is canon for all obedience and our obedience is born from love. As Christ says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” [John 14:15]. Scripture is the measure and rule of all means of salvation, right living, obedience, and love.

Furthermore such an appeal to “standard” should not come as a shocker for so many of the believing community in that they read the English Standard Version or the New American Standard Version or the Christian Standard Version. I hope you see the theme here. It seems the editors of these versions hope, even aim, for a standard. But are these versions the standard? Nope, at least not in the sense of canon. In what sense they are “standard,” we are unsure.

It seems then that Standard Sacred Text folks (i.e., KJV Only folks and Confessional Bibliology folks) as well as ESV, NASB, and CSB folks [at least] seek some kind of standard. It seems then that a large cross section of Christians desire such a standard. On this point we can agree toward a same goal. StandardSacredText.com exists to realize that goal or at very least assist in realizing that goal.