Thursday, December 05, 2019

WM 144: Taylor DeSoto Guest Lecture on TR @ Phoenix Seminary

WM 144: Taylor DeSoto Guest Lecture on TR @Phoenix Seminary is posted. Listen here.

My friend Taylor DeSoto, associate pastor at Agros Reformed Baptist Church in Phoenix, AZ, was invited to give a guest lecture on his view of the TR in a ThM class on text criticism (on 12.4.19) at Phoenix Seminary, taught by Dr. Peter Gurry. Taylor does a very able job of speaking about the Confessional Text position and addressing questions, including the "Which TR?" challenge. Thanks to Dr. Gurry for his invitation to hear directly from a TR advocate.

This presentation is also available in video format here on



Anonymous said...

It was a most interesting discussion and Taylor is very articulate and a blessing to listen to. I wondered how you would answer Mark Ward's comments below

Mark Ward
6 days ago (edited)

Lying in bed with a terrible cold, I took down a bunch of words Taylor used to describe the TR: “Pure,” “Perfect,” “Certain,” “Absolute,” “Stable,” “Settled,” “Not changing,” “Completed,” “Agreed upon.” He said, “There’s not a single place where I don’t know what the text says.” He said (though this is a paraphrase) that if there is uncertainty anywhere, there is uncertainty everywhere.

And Dr. Gurry asked the question I pushed with my paper (soon to be published in the Detroit journal): how is it right for Taylor to use the language above when there is undeniable variation among TRs? There are more than twelve differences between just the two TRs I’ve looked at in detail: Stephanus and Scrivener.

There aren’t just spelling and word order differences, though there are those. There are differences in number (sg. vs. pl.); there are differences in person (“us” vs. “you” in Mark 9:40); there are differences in tense and mood (Matt 13:24; Rev 3:12). There are wholly different words (Matt 2:11; 1 Pet 1:8; 1 Tim 1:4; 1 John 1:5; 2 Cor 11:10; 2 Thess 2:4; Phm 1:7; Heb 9:1; Jas 5:12; Rev 7:10).

And, significantly, there is an entire sentence—one which to me feels doctrinally important—present in Scrivener that is missing from Stephanus: 1 John 2:23. (Interestingly, that clause is all italicized in the KJV, which is the equivalent of the very textual-doubtfulness brackets that KJV proponents complain about in the ESV, NIV, etc.)

There are also two overt contradictions between Stephanus’ TR and Scrivener’s TR (see James 2:18 and Rev 11:2).

All TR advocates in my experience wish to continue to wave the “perfect” and “absolute” and “stable” and “settled” and “completed” flags. I don’t actually relish taking those flags out of their hands: I want people to have a sure and settled faith. But it’s when they wave those flags before laypeople and therefore cause division that I must gently pipe up from the back of the room. In my experience, precisely 0% of laypeople (and maybe 5% of pastors) in TR-using churches are aware that there are multiple TRs with differences among them; nor are they aware that the main TR used by their churches is a record of the textual-critical decisions of the KJV translators that never existed in the history of the world until Scrivener put it together in 1881.

I am not trying to replace certainty with uncertainty. I am trying to fit my expectations to the amount of certainty God has actually provided—and not demand more when I have plenty.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


Thanks for the post.

I will do a response to Ward's article when it comes out in print.

the "Which TR?" argument ignores the fact that all the printed TR traditions include the traditional ending of Mark, the PA, etc.

For a response to this objection listen to WM 140:Responding to the "Which TR?" Objection: