Saturday, November 02, 2019

WM 136: Text and Canon Conference Follow Up

WM 136: Text and Canon Conference Follow Up is posted. Listen here.

A few follow ups to the 2019 Text and Canon Conference:

1.    Thanks to Lily for her cartoon on the conference. She did a good job of picking up the distinctions between the TR, Majority, and Modern Critical text approaches.

2.    It was a good conference. People came from Seattle, WA, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan (at least 12 states). We also had folk there from Canada and one from the UK. There were RBs and Presbyterians and wider conservative evangelicals there (even a couple of Primitive Baptists and one Fundamental Baptist).

3.    TBS was there: Bill Greendyke and Jonathan Arnold.

4.  Eight messages were given by three speakers over two days. There was lots of fellowship, conversation, and networking. Great to meet people in person you’ve known online and humbling to meet people who follow the blog and WM podcast. Audio from lectures are already online at CRC’s site and will be posted later to

5.  Thanks to the hospitality of CRC!  They were great hosts. Atlanta was also a great meeting place for travel purposes, but, oh, the traffic!

6.    One of the themes stressed was the fact that textual issues are canonical issues.

7.    I tried to put my messages on the traditional text in a four-part framework: emergence, triumph, challenges, reaffirmation.

8.   In the first two lectures I addressed four historical questions: (1) Is the NT text like other texts?; (2) How was the NT transmitted?; (3) How many early mss of the NT do we have?; (4) Why don’t we have very many?

9.  My talks used a good bit of material that folks will know from my podcasts and previous writings. Newer emphases: (1) the care of the early transmission of the text; (2) the paucity of extant mss. evidence; (3) the limits of the reconstruction method.

10. At one point I made reference to text, apologetics, and Islam. Here is the specific reference to which I made ad hoc reference: Charles Marsh, The Challenge of Islam (Ark Publishing, 1980): 171.

11. I had copies available at the conference of a new books of my new book on the Doctrines of Grace and will soon also be publishing another book titled John Owen on Scripture.

12. I did a podcast Wednesday evening with Josh Gibbs of Kansas City’s “Talking Christianity” podcast. See this post.

13. The Agros guys have continued their furious writing pace this week. See Taylor’s Reformation Day article that contrasts the Warfieldian view with the classic Protestant Reformed view of text. See also Dane’s article on the Agros church blog site: “Is the Received Text Position Really a Minority Position?”

May the Lord continue to use this conference to influence and encourage, as we go forward.



Matthew M.Rose said...

Dr. Riddle,

Hello again Sir.

At the 2:37 mark of the "Text and Canon Conference" follow up (WM-136), you use the terms "Traditional Text" and "Confessional Text" synonymously. This, as it were, is not the first time I have heard men from your 'camp' confound these respective terms. I'm trying to understand why the terms are being used in such an interchangeable manner(?),--because the "TRADITIONAL TEXT" of Dean Burgon is *not* (to be sure) identical with the "Confessional Text" position that you and others subscribe to.

Any clarity that you can give me on this point would be greatly appreciated! Thanks and God bless!

H. Owen Jones said...

Dr. Riddle, thanks to you and Pastor Truelove for putting on the Text & Canon Conference along with involvement from the TBS and the members of Christ Reformed Church who made everything run perfectly -- it was fantastic and a blessing to attend.

Having a sound Biblical (Psalm 119:89; 1 Peter 1:23, etc.) & Confessional (WCF/2LBCF Ch 1:8) worldview toward Text Criticism is essential. Being willing and able to apply these foundations consistently means the multi-faceted details of Text Criticism are significantly less likely to carry one astray into questioning the Word, or ultimately denying it.

With thanks; and blessings in Christ,

Howie Owen Jones
Vancouver. BC

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


Thanks for your comment.

Yes, I tend to use Traditional Text and Confessional Text interchangeably. By this I mean the Masoretic text of the Hebrew OT and the TR of the Greek NT. I am not using the term as Burgon did (in reference to the Majority or Byzantine text). Sorry for confusion.


Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


Thanks so much for the encouragement. It was great to meet you and your son Fraser while in Atlanta.

Blessings to you in your life and ministry, JTR

Matthew M.Rose said...


Thanks for the reply!

Burgon did not technically use the term "Traditional Text" in reference to the Majority and/or Byz. Text. He used it in reference to what he considered the "True" Text, although the MT or Byz. Txt. is a very close approximation to what Burgon held to be the *True* Text.

Is there anyone, or any work which you know of that uses (or used) the term Traditional Text in reference to the TR? I'm curious as to where the idea that they're somehow synonymous came from. Also, do you have reservations against using the more established terminology of TR-Only, or TR-Onlyism?

The reason I'm asking is that I don't quite understand why (or how) a position can be known by a half-dozen different titles-- and yet not by it's more original label of TR-Only. Secondly, if you object to the phrase "TR-ONLY"--for whatever reason--I would like to understand why?

Thank you again for your input.

Unknown said...

Was the fundamentalist pastor at your conference called Pastor Steven L Anderson?PSA got me saved

Unknown said...

After listening to the conference, one thing that stuck out the most was the self authentication of the canon. This is especially true of the micro-canon!. The critical text really makes a case for the Roman Catholic position that they alone have the authority to declare what belongs in the canon. If the Critical Text people are correct, then at least two passage (woman caught in adultery and the longer ending of Mark) were spurious and "self authentication" is unreliable since those passages were accepted as genuine for centuries!
Why make their case for them? We don't need a Bible that "contains" the Word of God. We need a Bible that "IS" the Word of God!
Thank you for posting the Text & Canon on SermonAudio for others to benefit from!

Unknown said...

Thanks Pastors Riddle and Truelove for the excellent conference! It was very edifying, and reminded us of the absolutely foundational Reformation doctrine of Sola Scripture. I found the lectures to be very beneficially, and the opportunities for networking to be encouraging and profitable. Praise God for His providentially preserved Word, "kept pure in all ages!"

In Christ,