Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Debate Follow Up: Vlad Stefan's Analysis of Debate Two on Ephesians 3:9

Image: Closeup of koinonia at Ephesians 3:9 in minuscule 2817.

Here is Vlad Stefan's analysis of the second debate on Ephesians 3:9 which was posted on the Confessional Bibliology FB group:

Analysis Of James White's Views In His Second Debate Versus Jeff Riddle:

00:23:00 - [UNBIBLICAL PRESUPPOSITIONS] Mr White accuses the TR position of being circular and irrational, and says that Dr Riddle will not use the same arguments he used in the previous debate because the evidence is "non-existent" for this reading as opposed to the previous one. Later @ 00:34:00 - Mr White talks about reconstructing the modern eclectic text according to the principles of modern textual criticism. His argument is basically that he is using a consistent methodology that could reconstruct the current edition of the critical text while TR proponents are not being consistent, and their methodology could not reconstruct the TR.

The question is what is the source of those principles? Mr White's principles of textual criticism are completely unbiblical, based on man-made atheistic reasoning, treating the Bible like any other text of history, presupposing the Bible has been corrupted and needs to be reconstructed. The Confessional View's principles are based on what scripture teaches regarding its own preservation, and a view of history and the transmission of the text through these Biblical presuppositions. Which view is more appropriate for a Christian? To stand on the authority of scripture or on the authority of man-made atheistic falsely so-called "science"?

Furthermore it is not inconsistent for Dr Riddle to list the extant evidence available for any particular reading. The evidence is simply a statement of fact. The fact is that the TR does include some minority readings. If one believes based on one's biblical presuppositions and a view of history through that biblical lens, that the TR is the pure preserved Word of God, then one will believe that God's care and providence was over the minority readings just as it was over the majority readings. Providential preservation is not "inconsistent", it is what the Bible plainly teaches as recognized by the Reformation-era divines.

Dr Riddle will go on to show that the modern critical method is itself inconsistent with the application of its unbiblical man-made "principles".

00:31:55 - [HYPOCRISY] Mr White accuses Dr Riddle of not addressing him by name. But actually Dr Riddle has addressed Mr White by name since at least September 2014 when Dr Riddle did the first of many Word magazine episodes where he plays Mr White's teaching and responds to it ( https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=83014816351 ). What happened is that over the last 2 years as the Confessional View has gained more prominence, Mr White refused to engage with any of the many hours of Word magazines put out by Dr Riddle, but started making episodes of his podcast with thinly veiled responses to Riddle and others, without naming them or including links to their material. Dr Riddle comments on this during his later Word magazines. Dr Riddle then started doing the same, referring to Mr White as Popular Internet Apologist, giving Mr White a taste of his own medicine. But Mr White behaving like a child started to whine about it like a total hypocrite; Mr White can dish it out, but he can't take it.

00:37:50 - [FALSE CLAIM, CONJECTURE] Mr White tells one of his famous stories, about how Erasmus instructed his printer to use their own texts to fill in the section he was missing, but the printer just used Erasmum' first edition. Where's the proof? I have never seen concrete proof that the printers didn't use their own texts but used his first edition without him knowing. Prove it Mr White. This is purely conjecture that Mr White passes off as fact.


00:39:45 - [STRAWMAN] Mr White compares Dr Riddle to infidel Muslims, Mormons. This is a common tactic used by Mr White to strawman Confessional Text advocates as Muslims/Mormons/Ruckmanites to enable him to easily burn and destroy the strawman instead of engaging the real position, and to try to poison the well by getting the listeners to identify the Confessional View with nonbelievers. The irony is that it is Mr White's own view that is based in infidel atheistic rationalism, while the Confessional View is based on what the Bible teaches concerning its own preservation.

00:43:30 - [FAILED METHODOLOGY] Dr Riddle correctly points out that the Confessional Text view is not a reconstructionist view, that the modern textual critical method has failed to reconstruct the text, that there simply is too many extant witnesses lost to be able to reconstruct the ever-elusive originals. This is acknowledged by modern textual critics, who are now only trying to find the "initial text" floating aroundd the 2nd-4th century and have given up on getting back to the originals. Mr White is still in denial that the goals of the methodology he has adopted have now changed and the methodology itself is incapable of reconstructing the originals. In contrast the Confessional View, based on what scripture teaches about its own preservation, believes that God has preserved the autographs in the faithful apographs, which the Reformers had in their day and we still have today.

00:48:45 - [PRESUPPOSE VATICANUS] Dr Riddle points out that the modernists decided in the 19th century to adopt the new Ephesians reading prior to the papyri evidence; it was the weight given to Vaticanus & Sinaiticus. Mr White loves to talk about his "principles", "methodology" etc, but really the methodology of modern textual criticism is all geared up to support Vaticanus. Mr White and most modern critics are presuppositional; they presuppose Vaticanus and witnesses that favor it. The entire logic, reasoning and "principles" of modern textual criticism is designed to support Vaticanus.

00:51:30 - [INCONSISTENT MODERN TEXTUAL PRINCIPLES] Dr Riddle points out that the modern critical method is itself inconsistent; often modern critics will favor Vaticanus and witnesses that support it, but at 2 Peter 3:10 they go with a reading that has absolutely no Greek manuscript support, quite a subjective decision that goes against the principles they apply elsewhere. Similarly at Revelation 5:9, they go with a reading found in 1 witness, Alexandrinus. If the modern critical method can select readings based on no extant Greek witnesses or 1 extant Greek witness, why is it wrong for the TR to contain minority readings with only a few Greek witnesses?

00:55:00 - [STRAWMAN, UNBIBLICAL, FALSE CLAIM] Mr White does a huge epic strawman of the Confessional View. The Confessional View believes God has preserved His Word using the men and the means that God chose to do it. Mr White also says the TR was backtranslated from the English, which is a false claim. Mr White equates the Bible to other historical texts, thereby betraying his unbiblical atheistic presuppositions, that he approaches the text of scripture just as he would approach the text of Homer, the writings of Tacitus etc.

00:56:58 - [STRAWMAN] Mr White says he wants you to make decisions regarding what is and isn't God's Word and is glad that NA29 will enable that. But in practice if you see the evidence and believe the TR, Mr White will strawman you like there is no tomorrow. Ultimately Mr White wants to tell you what is and isn't scripture and you better agree with him or else. Mr White then strawmans Confessional Text advocates into Pope Sixtus and his Vulgate, another favorite strategy of his. This is a strawman as the Confessional Text view is concerned with the preservation of the original language texts not Latin, so this is a false comparison. Mr White then goes to his Muslim strawman.

00:59:10 - [STRAWMAN] Mr White claims that "kept pure in every age" means we must still possess today early extant witnesses of our readings. This is false; it is the text itself that is kept pure not the witnesses to the text. The Confessional View is not a reconstructionist view. Further G.H Milne and others mentioned in the analysis of the first debate clearly show that by "kept pure in all ages" the Reformation Divines believed they had the autographs in the apographs extant in their day.

01:06:28 - [INCONSISTENT, UNBIBLICAL, HERESY, NOBIBLE, DEBATE OVER] - Mr White says that he is willing to change his position on any text in the NT if "there was a discovery of ancient documents that most scholars agreed makes something the earliest reading." So basically any verse is up for grabs, and Mr White can never preach with authority again. When Mr White stands up and says "The Bible says", well, it says that today, but 100 years from now? 400 years from now? Scholars could make some new discoveries and then believe those verses aren't original. At this point the debate is over as Mr White has no Bible. Mr White then says Dr Riddle's question is a false question then attempts to dance around it. Mr White really starts to lose his cool and goes off the rails during the subsequent questions. In contrast Dr Riddle maintains excellent Christian character.

01:15:35 - [FALSE CLAIM, CONJECTURE] Mr White says that the reading he prefers at Ephesians 3:9 "was the public possession of every generation up to the 15th century?" This is a false statement as it is impossible for Mr White to prove this as in order to prove this Mr White would need to have a complete and total knowledge of all witnesses to the text of Eph 3:9 from when it was written to the 15th century. As Mr White does not have this information he cannot prove this; he can merely suggest it from the little extant evidence we have, but this is simply conjecture. Mr White and modern critics often pass off their conjectures as statements of fact.

01:19:30 - [APPEAL TO MAJORITY, INCONSISTENT, UNBIBLICAL] Mr White appeals to the majority of witnesses, Dr Riddle called him out on doing this before. Basically Mr White and other modern critics will appeal to the majority when it suits them, but then appeal to 1/2/3 witnesses against the majority when it suits their preferred reading. Mr White seems to mock the idea that God preserved His Word if the reading is a minority reading, even though he often holds to minority readings himself. Dr Riddle highlights that the Confessional View doesn't approach the text of scripture purely naturalistically as any other man-made text but is based what scripture teaches regarding God, His Word, etc. This seems totally foreign to Mr White, who at this point is treating the Bible and speaking like a nonbeliever.

01:25:07 - [UNBIBLICAL] Dr Riddle highlights the difference in their views; that he will not apply the same treatment to the Bible as to secular literature, because he is a Christian whose approach to the scriptures is based on the scriptures. Mr White smirks but is silent.



Mr White has no Bible. Any verse is up for deletion or change in the future based upon new discovery and the consensus of the scholars. Mr White can never again preach the Bible with any authority, because even if he believes a verse is original today, his successors might decide it is spurious in the future. Mr White mocks and ridicules the idea that God preserved His Word in a minority reading, appealing to the majority, but then will do a 180 turn and appeal to a distinct minority of witnesses to defend his preferred readings.


Charlie J. Ray said...

Axioms are unproven starting points and therefore are not circular. The axiom of conservatives is Scripture, not secular textual criticism.

WritetheVision said...

Don't forget about the snake handling and poison argument, the most unlearned and ridiculous claim I have ever heard.