Saturday, July 09, 2022

WM 240 (b): Is Confessional Bibliology KJVO?


Three problems with the CB is KJVO argument:

First: It does not offer a clear definition of terms, especially "KJVO."

Second: Confessional Christianity necessarily reject KJVO, especially of the Ruckman/Riplinger variety (see WCF 1:8).

Third: There are those who affirm the CB position but who do not make primary or exclusive use of the KJV.


Iron Sharpens Iron podcasts:

Mark Ward on the June 1, 2022 and June 8, 2022 shows under the titles, “KJVO & CB: Comparison and Contrast (& the Dangers of Both).”

James White in the second hour of the June 15, 2022 program, titled “Further Reflections on KJVO & CB.”

Mark Ward at 2022 DBTS Summer Series (July 26) in two lectures under the title: “Confessional Bibliology: A Growing Movement of Reformed KJV-Onlyists.”

To find Andrej's comment on WM 114.

My quote tweet on people "pushing" the Received Text.



Andrej said...

Dear Brother Jeff Riddle,
thank you for your prayers!

I listened to the video and wanted to write some more info:

The "Schlachter" Bible I am reading is from the year 2000,
Before that there was the 1951 and 1905 version.
The 2000 version is a revision that was completely revised according to the Textus Receptus.

Unfortunately, there are not many Bibles in Germany that are based on the Textus Receptus:
- Schlachter 2000
- "neueLuther 2009" or the revision "Luther21".
- Luther 1912

Greetings from Bremen, Germany
God's rich blessing in Christ Jesus

Mark Ward said...

/2 Brother Riddle, I am not "against the Authorized Version." I love and trust the KJV. If you are asking for charitable descriptions of your position, I must ask the same. This is a persistent misrepresentation of my view. I am not against the KJV anymore than I am against the Wycliffe Bible. But if people insist on using it exclusively in churches, I must call them to the standard of 1 Cor 14: edification requires intelligibility.

I sincerely wish to avoid pejorative labeling. After my book came out, when I was first contacted by William Sandell, who was then, at least, a proponent of Confessional Bibliology (I don't know where he's at now), I believed him when he said he was NOT KJV-Only.

But then I started talking with your followers, Dr. Riddle. And I simply could not avoid the parallels. I grew up KJV-Only. I know the arguments we made to one another. I note that there is massive overlap between the arguments made by IFB KJV-Onlyists and those made by Confessional Bibliologists.

- Both groups use the same prooftexts (Mt 5:18; Ps 12:6–7; Ps 119:105; Mt 4:4; etc.).
- Both groups use the same key words to describe the TR/KJV: "preserved," "pure," "stable," "settled," "unchanging."
- Both groups insist that inspiration demands perfect preservation.
- Both groups use the same tone. This is admittedly a more subjective judgment than the previous two points. And, frankly, you are a more courteous combatant, Dr. Riddle. I don't expect this comment to be persuasive to you, but for the cause of truth I must say it.
- Both groups maximize the differences between the TR and the critical text. You yourself, in your review of my book, called the CT a "completely different underlying text."
- Both groups call the critical text "corrupt" and argue that it undermines or attacks Christian doctrines. (CT proponents do not return this favor; I believe Scrivener's TR is a good reconstruction of the original text, just not the best available.)
- Both groups refuse to answer the "Which TR?" question. They consistently claim to have a perfectly pure text but just as consistently dodge the questions of which TR is perfect and why.

Mark Ward said...

- Both groups functionally—as you said to Dwayne Green, "practically"—resort to Scrivener's TR. And that TR is the KJV.
- Both groups put "the TR" in their church (and other institutional) doctrinal statements but fail to specify which TR they believe to be perfect.
- Both groups refuse to explain the specific differences between TR editions that I talked about in my paper. Two years on, I still simply do not know how you would handle those specifics. I listed ten passages in which the two TRs I looked at exhibit "Differences in Words That Produce Differences in Meaning." I listed one missing clause (1 John 2:23) and two outright contradictions (Jas 2:18; Rev 11:2) between TR editions. I do not know how you account for these, because you have not explained.
- Both groups dismiss and ignore my false friends argument. They say, ironically, that people should study to show themselves approved. To my knowledge, not a single KJV defender in either group has publicly or privately acknowledged learning a specific false friend from me. And very, very few (Robert Truelove being a very notable exception, Bryan Ross being another) have acknowledged that there are any false friends in KJV English at all—even though their own TBS Westminster Reference Bible and Defined KJB list numbers of my false friends.

You said, "Confessional Christians necessarily reject KJV-Onlyism, especially of the Ruckman-Riplinger variety." I don't deny this. But this defines KJV-Onlyism narrowly as Ruckmanite double inspirationism. My IFB church growing up was not Ruckmanite, but we were KJV-Only, and proud of it. And we said almost all the same things you say about the KJV, minus anything about the Westminster Confession, of course!

You said, "There are those who affirm the Confessional Text position who do not make primary or exclusive use of the King James Version." I acknowledge this. After years of searching, I know two such people, and both of them go to the same church. And one of them has said to me that he is privately frustrated with the rest of Confessional Bibliology for being basically KJV-Only.

Dr. Riddle, the best way to get me to stop using the label "KJV-Onlyism" for your view is to provide an answer to the substance of my argument in that Detroit paper. How do you handle differences among classic, mature, Protestant editions of the TR? If they exhibit the same *kinds* of variants as do the TR and the CT, why are those variants "corruptions" for my text but not for yours?

You are a gifted man. I have heard from a reliable source that you are an excellent preacher. I don't like having this disagreement with you. I am frustrated, brother, that you will not answer what I take to be simple questions that, before the Lord, I asked in good faith.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

You can find my response to Mark Ward's comment here:

Phil Brown said...

I can say that the King James Version is one of my favorite translations. Everyone is different. I grew up in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, and at that time the 1984 edition of the NIV was their preferred text. I remember my mom getting the "Faith Comes by Hearing" New Testament on cassette. I listened to the whole thing more than once. Somewhere along the line I left the faith and was eventually evangelized by a Missionary Baptist Student group in college. Mostly everyone there used either the NIV or the NASB (pre-ESV). One of my good friends from Mississippi introduced me to the KJV only material after my conversion. I will admit that I hadn't noticed the changes before, but I could see the problems that they raised even though I was suspicious of their conclusions. My grandparents had bought me a KJV when I was young, and I carried it to church, but I rarely read it, so the variants hadn't been on my radar. I remember angering my literature professor in college because I thought reading "old English" was a waste of time. The professor had it out for me after that! After reading Ruckman and Ripplinger, I was sold out to the KJV only position and surrendered to preach. I eventually went to seminary where my professor read from his Greek New Testament and translated while he read. I remember the amazement I had at his ability. A kind man, he talked me off of the ledge of the KJV only position, mostly through challenging questions. He came from the school of Bruce Fuller and Metzger. I never finished seminary due to financial hardships, and I went to work in the Agricultural field for the State of Arkansas. Not having been discipled really, I was like that man James wrote about in Chapter 1. I was driven back and forth by every wind of doctrine. Eventually a good man took me under his wing and through much time and patient effort discipled me. He used the NASB95, and still does. When I brought up this issue of textual variants to him, he just told me that he saw that as a secondary issue, and that he was just trying to better understand the scriptures he had. He had been raised in a Church that used the KJV, but through the years preferred a version more suited to his reading level. I have landed on the KJV and NKJV personally. However, my research which is hardly a scholarly endeavor has led me to more of a Traditional Text position on the New Testament, and the jury is still out on the Old Testament. I will say that I think a case can be made for the Confessional text position and should be.

Phil Brown said...

I have read good arguments for many of the textual variants Dr. Riddle supports. It really depends on one's theory. Was the original corrupted by Orthodox scribes, or was the Alexandrian texts corrupted by Gnostics, Arians, or maybe even lazy scribes? It's really anyone's guess. If you read scholars from the Eastern Orthodox church, they tend to favor the Patriarchal text. What's funny is the quotes of these disfavored variants from church Fathers as early as Irenaeus. I find it strange that they aren't considered more in the field of Text Criticism. Now Peter Gurry was gracious enough to answer my query about the Church Fathers. His response was that the copies of the church fathers we have are in Latin, and because they aren't old enough, they don't carry enough weight. He didn't say it directly, but I presume he thinks the Fathers may have been edited. I never got to tell him, but the problem with that assertion is that the doctrine preserved in the Apostolic and Ante-Nicene Fathers doesn't reflect Post-Nicene or Medieval Christianity. If they were going to edit it, then they did a terrible job. You can see a great doctrinal chasm between Pre-Nicene and Post-Nicene writings still today. While some Post-Nicene Fathers were more Pre-Nicene in their writings, like John Chrysostom, most of them differ greatly. After the State became the caretaker of all things Christian, it changed a lot of things. Instead of editing them, they tended to bury them. You can see in the Old Testament where the text has been edited. Examples abound and that is why I am undecided on the Old Testament. Personally, I tend to err on the side of clarity. The traditional text of the New Testament seems to be more authentic to me, so while I am not on board 100% with Dr. Riddle and his views in every respect, I think the Confessional Text Position deserves a place at the table of discussion. If we are honest, using science without faith gives us a sterile environment of conjecture and the merry go round continues. I have faith in the Traditional Text of the New Testament and think that the scholarly hacking away of the text has done more damage to the church over the last 100 years than if they had just left the issue alone. Even if the scholars were correct, there have been many casualties from this debate. Think of the people who have walked away because they now believe the text isn't Divine and just another text to be studied, criticized, and kept in the vault of historical studies. Look how Postmodern thinking is now influencing our churches. Scientifically we could theorize all day long, but I think that the faithful way is to accept the text handed to us. Could we update the translation? Sure.

Phil Brown said...

Yeah, I don't know why I said "Bruce Fuller" when referring to my professor at seminary. I meant F.F. Bruce. I have a friend named Bruce Fuller. I produced a "textual variant" in my first draft! Ha ha!