Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Taylor DeSoto: The Textus Receptus: A Defense Against Postmodernism in the Church

Image: I don't know who created this meme, but just grabbed it off Google images.

Taylor DeSoto has been at it again on his Young, Textless, and Reformed Blog.

He just dropped another article noting how the Textus Receptus represents an emphatic "No!" to the encroachment of postmodernism into traditional Christianity.

He writes:

My goal here is to convince you that the discussion of textual criticism is not only Postmodern in nature, but that its impacts are far reaching well beyond which Bible you read. Starting with the Critical Text, we have to understand that the process of reconstructing a Bible is at its core a fruit of Postmodernism. It begins with the assumption that the previous structure must be torn down and replaced with empirical methodologies. The faith based systems of the past were good for their time, but the modern men of science know better. We shouldn’t be enslaved to the chains of tradition and the narrow thinking of the men of old.

Enjoy, JTR


Howie said...

Masterful. Yes, and again a resounding -- YES!

Pastor DeSota nails what must be the vanguard battle cry on the issue of text. The beach head comes back to “broad worldview” which funnels into “textual worldview” which out-funnels into “text detail”. So often, it seems, "they" always start with the text details and we get awed, before coming to grips with the fountainhead.

Indeed, if the text “map” is Postmodern or Enlightenment or in any manner contrary to the Bible’s self-authenticating nature, “text detail treasure” will follow in tow. Which is to say, not matter how clever or elite the “text treasure hunt” details are, it’s going to always lead away from the genuine and negatively impact the Church (DeSoto chronicles this well).

In contrast, the WCF, Savoy and 2LBCF framers in Ch 1:8 meant plainly what they said, which is why they wrote what they did and why the vast company of Reformers in a host of languages, and those standing on their shoulders, held tenaciously to those things most surely believed amongst us. And none of these -- not one -- were ancestral Postmodernists.

A brilliant article, an absolute must read. Dr. Riddle, thanks for posting so many awesome and important things on Stylos.

B. Wayne said...

Hi Howie,

I disagree.

I thought that Taylor's article was full of holes--mainly due to a personalized and narrow scope. But also because of a consistent disregard to qualify statements, and some overexaggeration, (caused by tunnel vision,) which creates a major false dilemma in his textual veiws in my opinion.

Taylor seems to promote the notion that we have some kind of clear cut dichotomy within the field of NTTC, and that it's basically the TR (imagined as some sort of perfect heavenly molten alloy) set against the worldly and corrupt critical text. Do you personally see it this way?

Another problem I have is his failure to present a full and wide veiw of the situation historically and presently. This essentially makes his article a straw-man hit-piece. He doesn't fully explain the landscape of NTTC, and whether this is because of time constraints, personal preference, or a lack of knowledge really matters not. It still leads to an incomplete understanding. Sorry if this comes across as disagreeable, but I'd honestly like to hear your thoughts.

Howie said...

Hello B. Wayne and thanks for your comments.

To answer your first question, yes and no.

Yes, I do see a clear contrast (and gulf actually now) in NTTC between the Critical Text and Received Text (TR) particularly as it pertains to textual worldview which drives the text details, these two being absolutely “linked up”. This is the vanguard of DeSoto’s sound polemic in this article.

No, or not exactly, per your statement as being “set against the worldly and corrupt critical text”; rather, I reject the Critical Text (CT) as authoritative; that is, while with reservation I endorse the CT for study reference (for those skilled and able to rightly divide God’s Word) where differences exist between the Traditional / Confessional Text and the CT -- and this is key -- I hold alone to the Traditional / Confessional Text (i.e. the Received Text / TR) authoritatively. I won’t develop this here as I sought to build that case in a position paper, Before Another Bible, that you may wish to refer:

Historically and contemporarily the dichotomy between the Critical Text and Received Text (TR) is perhaps well illustrated with the following two quotes (many more such position statements could, of course, be supplied), sourced from Before Another Bible:

-- Critical Text/Reasoned Eclecticism --

“The existing text required extensive modification” that will result in a “hypothetical reconstruction” of the wordings as they existed" - Source: UBS website.

“The text is changing. Every time that I make an edition of the Greek New Testament, or anybody does, we change the wording. We are maybe trying to get back to the oldest possible form but, paradoxically, we are creating a new one. Every translation is different, every reading is different, and although there’s been a tradition in parts of Protestant Christianity to say there is a definitive single form of the text, the fact is you can never find it. There is never ever a final form of the text.” - DC Parker, Editor of the Novum Testamentum Graece, the Critical Edition of The New Testament in Greek; Nestle-Aland (NA) / United Bible Societies (UBS).

-- Received Text (TR) or Traditional / Confessional Text --

“Let it be remembered, that the vulgar copy we use, was the public possession of many generations; that upon the invention of printing, it was in actual authority throughout the world, with them that used and understood that language… Men may, if they please, take pains to inform the world, wherein such and such copies (of the Sacred Scriptures) are corrupted or mistaken, but to impose their known failings on us as various lections , is of course not to be approved... We went from Rome under the conduct of the purity of the originals, I wish none have a mind to return thither again, under the pretense of their corruption.” John Owen (1616-1683), Of the Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text of the Scripture (selections from pg’s 473-477). John Owen was a defender of the Received Text (TR).

Wherein the Scriptures “being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic”. – Westminster Confession of Faith, London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, Savoy Declaration.

You also asked for my thoughts on your idea that you think DeSoto does not present a full and wide view historically or presently. I don’t think that was Pastor Taylor’s intention nor, surely, should we as readers expect such a lofty result; after all, and I think you allude to this, it is but one article! That being so, I would heartily commend the numerous other interrelated articles Pastor Taylor DeSoto has written at Once you have read all these, I see not but that you would reasonably concur the “full and wide” symmetry of the case he has made.

Blessings in Christ,

Howie Jones