Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Word Magazine: Review: Dan Wallace on Preservation.Part 3 (9.18.13)

I recorded and posted another edition of Word Magazine today.  This is part 3 of my review of Dan Wallace's article, Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Criticism.
 
The review touched on a number of issues, including Wallace's suggestion that the modern critical reconstruction of the "original" text of Scripture is anticipated by Josiah's finding of "the book of the law" in the temple.  In the episode, I mentioned a series of messages I preached in September 2012 at CRBC on Old Testament texts relating to the doctrine of preservation.  One of those messages was titled When the Bible was lost from 2 Kings 22--23. At the close of that message I made the following applications:
 
This passage is a testimony and a witness to the fact that God preserves his Word.  Perhaps wicked men had been able to destroy every copy of God’s Word, but some faithful priest had hidden one copy of the Word and it lay hidden till the time of its providential discovery.  God will preserve his Word.
Is this an argument for the modern reconstruction of a so-called critical text?
Some might argue that this text justifies the modern text critical reconstruction aimed at “purifying” the traditional text of Scripture, since it posits a time when Scripture was lost and then restored.
We reject this scheme.  Why?
1.      The setting in 2 Kings 22-23 is of a time when the Bible was still progressively developing.  It was at this time that the portion of Scripture as yet revealed was completely lost for a period of time.  The modern text critical construal claims that God’s word was not completely lost but partially corrupted, and this happened after the canon had been completed.
2.     The setting in 2 Kings 22-23 is of a time when either all the Scriptures then revealed (Genesis-Deuteronomy) or a large portion (Deuteronomy) was completely lost for a significant period of time.  It addresses a period of the absence of the true word.  The modern construal claims not that the Word was taken away but that non-scriptural material was added (like the ending of Mark, the woman taken in adultery, etc.) and that they (the scholars, the experts) need to purify our texts by removing these accretions.
3.     The Biblical account describes a time of the Word’s absence that was of a relatively short duration. Saul, the first king came to the throne c. 1000 BC.  Josiah came to the throne c. 640 BC.  If the Word was lost near the end of the time of the Judges this would have been a period of c. 350 years.  If suppressed in the days of wicked Manasseh it would have been sometime after he took the throne c. 687 BC (so for only c. 40 years).  The modern text critical construal claims the Word of God was lost in the second century A. D. and only restored by modern scholars in the last nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  So, according to this view, the pure Word was lost for some 1,500-1,700 years!  Would the Lord have left his people without the Word for the majority of the time in which the New Testament church was in existence?

1 comment:

Joseph Terrell said...

Dear Brother,

I appreciate the efforts of men such as yourselves who take the Scriptures seriously. If the Scriptures were not of great importance God would not have bothered to have them produced.

However, allow me to challenge an often assumed point that, I believe, tends to confuse the issue of textual analysis by burdening it with unnecessary freight. You wrote:

"The modern text critical construal claims the Word of God was lost in the second century A. D. and only restored by modern scholars in the last nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. So, according to this view, the pure Word was lost for some 1,500-1,700 years! Would the Lord have left his people without the Word for the majority of the time in which the New Testament church was in existence?"

There is an assumed point in your statement that I do not believe is true which is that the phrase, "The Word of God," means "The Scriptures." If one follows your argument that a non-preservationist view necessitates the belief that the church was without the Word of God for 1500-1700 years, then one is left to assume that the whole world was without the Word of God for at least the first 2500 years of its existence. Yet, there were men and women of faith before then and the Scriptures say that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." How could they have had faith if there was no "Word of God." What this proves to me is that the Word of God predates the Scriptures...the pre-Moses believers had the Word of God even though they did not have the Scriptures. So it is equally easy to believe that the believers of the "1500-1700 years" had the Word of God even if they did not have a "pure" copy of Scriptures as preservationists describe it.

Peter makes it clear to us what the Scriptural phrase "The Word of God" (or any of its synonyms like "Word of the Lord", "The Word", etc) when he wrote, "And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached to you. "The Word of God" is the gospel. A man can preach a lot of Scripture without ever preaching The Word of God. Paul told Timothy that the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, but his exhortation to Timothy as not "preach the Scriptures," but "Preach the Word."

So, as I see it, the Scriptural phrase, "The Word of God" refers to Christ, Himself, or the message concerning Him. Thus it is written, "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."

This may seem to be a bit of nit-picking on my part, but if it is important that we expend a great deal of energy in ascertaining exactly what it is God inspired men to record as Scripture, then we should be equally careful to understand the meaning of Scriptural words and phrases.

I see that comments on your blog are moderated and that is good. If you choose not to post this it will be no offense to me. I just knew of no other way to contact you.

May God bless you as you proclaim His Word in our day.

Joe Terrell