Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Jots & Tittles 3: Is Confessional Bibliology A "False Teaching"?


Last week someone sent me a link to an online article by Kent Brandenburg titled, “The Who-Is-Nicer or Who-Is-Meaner Argument for the Text of Scripture.”

The articles notes that those who advocate for the modern critical text have a tendency to use this so-called “argument,” charging advocates for the traditional text with not being nice and then using this as an reason in favor of their position.

He mentions Mark Ward and James White by name as those who frequently make use of this tactic.

Indeed, in Mark Ward’s online review of Why I Preach From The Received Text he is highly critical especially of Chris Myers and the rhetoric he used in his article.

In fact, MW begins his review with something of a exhortation against “tribalism” in which he writes:

When I read a book such as this one, one that announces its agenda on the front cover, I am always on the lookout for the authors to demonstrate their awareness of three of the very simplest of truths in a biblical worldview, namely that 1) there is created goodness in my opponents, who are made in God’s image; 2) the fall affects my tribe, too; and 3) Christ’s redemptive power is strong enough to save both of our tribes.


When Christian people forget or ignore or even deny these simple truths, they fall into tribalism, into canonizing their friends and demonizing their opponents. And they lack both humility and charity. When the other side is only ever wrong and our side is only ever right, there is pride and every evil work.


As I noted in my rejoinder, however, it seemed inconsistent, if not hypocritical, when Ward later wrote of Myers in this review:


I respond to a great many arguments from KJV/TR defenders, and I ask the Lord for patience in this work. But Myers’ words are utter and complete foolishness unworthy of response; they are almost impossibly divisive; they are sin.

Given MW’s stated desire not to engage in the demonizing of his opponents I was surprised to hear MW declare at the CB position was a “false teaching” in the opening to the final episode of the recent TCC (episode 7/7 posted on 8/22/22).


In the opening segment as the panelist are reviewing what PVK,Jr. has called their “trauma” regarding their experiences with the KJV and their IFB backgrounds, MW makes this statement (c. 7:17):

“... the source of this division is, in our judgement, a false teaching of textual absolutism.”


So, MW declares that what he calls “textual absolutism” is “false teaching.” I suppose this would mean that those promoting such views would be “false teachers.”


Back in TCC 3/7 the panelists defined those who they believe fall into their error under the umbrella of “Textual Absolutists.”


First, they said there are “extreme views”: (1) Ruckmanism; and (2) KJV-Onlyism.


Second, they said there are “moderate views”: (3) KJB Defenders; (4) KJB/TT Defenders; and (5) TR Defenders.


One might say that one of the major problems with the TCC is that they lump such different views together. Here MW does what he claims he would not do, conflate CB with KJVO.


In this statement made in TCC 7/7 MW made no distinction in the term “textual absolutism.” They are all, according to his words, “false teaching.”


That is, on the face of it, a very serious charge to bring against anyone, especially publicly. Consider what the apostle Peter said about false teachers in 2 Peter 2: 1ff.


I am hoping that MW simply made a mistake in his wording and that he will consider offering a correction to his statement and perhaps he would even consider withdrawing TCC 7/7 and maybe even the entire series.


I happened to post to twitter today a quotation from John Owen:


 "As, therefore, the integrity and purity of the Scripture in the original languages may be proved and defended against all opposition,... so we must ascribe their preservation to the watchful and powerful operations of the Spirit of God absolutely securing them throughout all generations" (Works, 4: 234).


And I wondered: Does this make John Owen a textual absolutist? Was he then promoting a false teaching? Was he a false teacher?


I hope Mark Ward will soon offer some clarification for us on his statement.


Monday, August 29, 2022

CRBC Baptism Video (8.14.22)


Metzger quote on the "tenor" of Paul's theology


Image: Bruce Manning Metzger (1914-2007)

Shared this on a twitter thread @Riddle1689 today:

I cited this from Bruce Metzger's Textual Commentary on Rom 9:5 in my last podcast:

“In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ’s greatness by calling him God blessed forever” (522).

Let this sink in. The majority of scholars on the committee reconstructing the modern critical text of the Greek NT in the mid-20th century did not think it plausible that Paul would have referred to Jesus as God.

The Greek text of the NT reconstructed by this committee became the basis for all the modern translations of the NT based on the modern critical text, including those used in evangelical and Reformed churches today.

This deserves serious and sober consideration in conservative evangelical and Reformed circles.

It's time to go back to the Reformation text.


Saturday, August 27, 2022

WM 249: The "new perspective" on Romans 9:5


What is the issue?

The issue here is not so much on the text but on how the text should be punctuated and translated.

We can pick up on the differences by examining how Romans 9:5 is punctuated/translated in the KJV and the RSV:

Romans 9:5 (KJV): Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Romans 9:5 (RSV): to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever.[a] Amen.

Footnote [a]: Or Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever

Here is the text without punctuation:

Romans 9:5 ων οι πατερες και εξ ων ο χριστος το κατα σαρκα ο ων επι παντων θεος ευλογητος εις τους αιωνας αμην

This is the same in W & H and in NA 28.

Here is the punctation in the TR and NA 28:

Romans 9:5 (TR): ων οι πατερες και εξ ων ο χριστος το κατα σαρκα, ο ων επι παντων, θεος ευλογητος εις τους αιωνας. Αμην.

Romans 9:5 (NA 28): ων οι πατερες και εξ ων ο χριστος το κατα σαρκα, ο ων επι παντων, θεος ευλογητος εις τους αιωνας, αμην.

There was, however, controversy from the late 19th through the mid-20th century over how the passage should be punctated/translated as a “new perspective” on the verse was introduced and promoted.

Metzger’s Textual Commentary (Corrected Ed., 1975) entry on Romans 9:5:

It begins with this partial segment:

σαρκα· ο ων επι παντων θεος ευλογητος εις τους αιωνας

The raised point (semi-colon) after sarka apparently appeared in the UBS third edition (1975). It was replaced by a comma in the UBS third corrected edition (1983).

In Nestle’s Novum Testamentum Graece (19th edition, 1949), there is also a raised point along with a punctuation note suggesting three possibilities: comma, raised point, and a period.

Metzger begins by noting that “the syntax and meaning” of Romans 9:5 has been the cause of “much discussion.” A footnote cites a difference in interpretation between Ezra Abbot (1881, 1883) and Sanday & Headlam Romans commentary (1896) [the latter defending the traditional view].

He then offers three “chief interpretations”:

(a)  Comma after sarka. This would be the traditional view. It takes what follows as relating to ho christos.

(b)  Placing a point (either a colon or a full stop) after sarka, and taking what follows as an clause independent of ho christos.

(c)   Placing a comma after sarka and a point (either a colon or full stop) after pantōn.

He proceeds to note that the Church Fathers are unanimous in the traditional reading (a).

But he says this is of “minor significance,” because four uncials (A B C L) and at least 26 minuscules have a point after sarka, either by the first hand or by correctors.

Metzger does concede in a footnote that the presence of punctuation marks in early NT mss. Are “so sporadic and haphazard that one cannot infer with confidence the construction given by the punctuator of the passage” (521, n. 1).

Both the “patristic” and the “paleographical” evidence came after Paul’s original composition, so they are of “questionable authority” (521).

Metzger’s five reasons that a “minority” of the committee favored the traditional reading (a):

First: It fits “the structure of the sentence, whereas the interpretation that takes the words as an asyndetic [without a conjunction or coordination] doxology to God the Father is awkward and unnatural” (521).

Second: if the clause is an asyndetic doxology there would be no need for the participle ων.

Third: Pauline doxologies are never asyndetic.

Fourth: Asyndetic doxologies in the Bible and other semitic literature are constructed differently. They always have a verb or verbal adjective preceding the name of God.

Fifth: In light of context, he says, there is no “psychological explanation” for the appearance of a doxology here (522).

Metzger’s defense of the majority of the committee in favor of (b) or (c):

He says the five reasons noted above are not “decisive” “particularly since nowhere else in his genuine epistles does Paul ever designate ho christos as theos” (522).

Note: To reach this conclusion, Metzger must argue that Titus 2:13 (Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”) “is generally regarded as deutero-Pauline” (522, n. 6).

He also has to disregard Philippians 2:5-6’s statement that “Christ Jesus” (v. 5) did not consider it robbery to be “equal with God.”

He does not even bother to address 1 Timothy 3:16 “God was manifest in the flesh.”

Nor does he bother to address the significance of the “Jesus is Lord” confession in Paul (Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11).

Instead, Metzger makes this striking statement: “In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ’s greatness by calling him God blessed forever” (522).

So, the primary reason that Metzger provides for the majority finding is that they did not think it plausible that Paul would have referred to Jesus Christ as God.

Comparing other translations:

The RSV reading was also picked up on in several translations from the 1960s:

TEV (Good News Bible, 1966): they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen.

NLV (New Life Version, by Gleason and Kathryn Ledyard, NT, 1969): The early preachers came from this family. Christ Himself was born of flesh from this family and He is over all things. May God be honored and thanked forever. Let it be so.

It seems that the popularity of the “new perspective” on Romans 9:5 began to wane by the late 20th century.

The NA Greek NT, at least from the 26th edition (1979), changed the semi-colon after sarka to a comma.

The UBS third corrected edition (1983) followed suit.

The NRSV (1989; Updated edition, 2021) changed the main text: to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever.[a] Amen.

With the marginal reading: Or Messiah, who is God over all, blessed forever; or Messiah. May he who is God over all be blessed forever

And yet it also persists in several contemporary versions, even evangelical ones:

NIV (1984) main text: Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.

But margin: Or Christ, who is over all. God be forever praised! Or Christ. God who is over all be forever praised!

(Note: This is also the reading in the 2011 revision, the only change being that “Christ” is translated as “Messiah”).

CEV (NT, 1991): They have those famous ancestors, who were also the ancestors of the Christ. I pray that God, who rules over all, will be praised forever! Amen.

The NWT of the JWs embraces the “new perspective” on Romans 9:5!:

NWT: To them the forefathers belong, and from them the Christ descended according to the flesh. God, who is over all, be praised forever. Amen.


The patristic and early translation tradition never had any confusion about Romans 9:5 affirming that Christ is God.

Only in the nineteenth century under the influence of unitarian impulses in modern criticism was the traditional rendering challenged. Metzger’s statement in his  commentary is striking:

“In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ’s greatness by calling him God blessed forever” (522).

One might look at the effort to alter the reading at Romans 9:5 as a failure given its decline in popularity, and yet it persists in some translations and their marginal readings.

A recent comment to my youtube channel began, “Why is it that some, if not most, of these textual variants deal with lowering or tampering with the majestic Person and Work of Christ?”

The answer it that textual criticism is not a-theological. It is not doctrinally neutral. Romans 9:5 is a great example of this.

If the text of the Bible is subject to the whims of the academy it will continue to be vulnerable to “new perspectives” such as that foisted upon Romans 9:5.


Friday, August 26, 2022

The Vision (8.26.22): Have ye not read...


Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 19:1-12.

Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

The Pharisees, attempting to entrap the Lord in controversy, asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matt 19:3).

Notice that Christ begins his response by taking them back to Scripture (not to tradition, to experience, or to reason), when he says, “Have ye not read…” This is sola scriptura!

To be more precise, he takes them back to Genesis. It is hard to overstate the importance of Genesis, especially chapters 1-11 as a foundation for Christian theology. Christ cites two passages taken from the pre-fall creation: Genesis 1:27 (v. 4) and Genesis 2:24 (v. 5).

First, Christ alludes in v. 4 to Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

This is a key text for the doctrine of anthropology. It tells us that God has made human beings in two kinds: male and female. We all know the confusion that has arisen in our current culture, as various so-called “experts” have convinced many that gender is nothing but a “social construct.” An online article at healthline.com suggests there are no less than 68 supposed terms that describe gender and identity. Another source suggests 72.

All of this is rebellion against God’s good, created order, and it is nothing new. Paul described it in Romans 1 when he said that men “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (v. 21).

So, Christ is simply affirming here the fundamental goodness of God’s original creation design for humanity.

Second, in v. 5 he cites Genesis 2:24. With this citation, Christ affirms the doctrine of marriage. It involves a man leaving the household of his parents to establish his own household and cleaving to his wife. We, as parents, can and should give our children guidance when they are within our household, but when they establish their own household the relationship changes.

At the end of v. 5 (citing Gen 2:24), Christ addresses the mysterious union of a man and a woman in marriage. They become one flesh. A man and a woman were literally made to fit together, both physically and spiritually.

So, Christ declares, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (v. 6).

This statement, often recited in the traditional Christian vows of marriage, affirms two things: (1) It affirms in general the institution of marriage as a one flesh union between one man and one woman (anything other than this is not a marriage); and (2) It affirms, in particular, the individual marriages of Christians, which are neither to be entered into lightly nor departed from frivolously.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

WM 247: Rejoinder to a "Toxic" Book Review

In WM 245 I mentioned that several folk had asked if I planned to offer a rejoinder to what has been called a “toxic” review of the new book I co-edited with Christian McShaffrey, titled Why I Preach from the Received Text: An Anthology of Essays by Reformed Ministers.

The book was released on Friday, July 22, 2022. By July 24, 2022 Mark Ward, noted anti-KJV activist, had posted a caustic review of this book to his blog (byfaithweunderstand.com), as well as to several online sites, including amazon and goodreads. On amazon he gave the book two stars. As of today, there are 11 reviews there. Every other review presently posted gives the book the maximum five stars.

Though the print in Why I Preach from the Received Text is fairly large (to make for ease of reading) and the chapters are short, the content does cover some 276 pages. So, in less than two days MW apparently got an e-version of the book, read it, and then posted a review of over 3,700 words! Note: His review is much longer than the 25 individual chapters of the book, which were limited to c. 2,500 words each.

After reading his review my main question is not whether Mark read the book. I think he probably skimmed through it. The question is, “Did he really understand what it is about?”

So, let me offer a summary of his review, as it falls into four parts:

First, Introduction:

He begins by noting that the essays in the anthology are more like “personal testimonies” rather than “careful arguments.” That’s true.

Nevertheless, he adds, the writers do make “properly academic claims.”

He notes the book includes a “spectrum of views” that “do not all perfectly cohere.” This also true.

He cites two “poles” on this spectrum, represented by the essay by Brett Mahlen on one side and the essay by Chris Myers on the other. He closes the intro:

“So I think I’ll describe the poles, which I take to be the contributions of Mahlen and Myers. And then I’ll examine what they said about the main issue at stake in the debate over the KJV: the current intelligibility of Elizabethan English.”

I have written quite a few book reviews for my blog and scores for printed journals. The first task of a reviewer is to understand the work he is reviewing and to understand the purpose of the author(s) in producing it.

After supposedly reading through Why I Preach From the Received Text, MW thinks the “main issue” with the book is what it has to say about the “intelligibility” of the KJV.

In fact, never once in the review does MW ever define or address what the book is really about. He never asks, Why do the Reformed ministers represented in the book choose to make use of the Received Text as their standard for preaching, teaching, and ministry as opposed to the modern critical text?

Never once does he make reference to WCF/2LBCF 1:8 and its statement that God has “immediately inspired” the Scriptures in the original Hebrew and Greek, and that these Scriptures have been “kept pure in all ages,” even though that paragraph is quoted in almost every single chapter in the book and attention is called it in the Introduction.

Instead, MW fixates on the fact that many of the writers, all of whom minister in the English-speaking world, also make related and tangential reference as to why they choose to use the classic Protestant translation, the AV, which is based on the Received Text.

Did he overlook the paragraph quoted below in the Introduction? It states:

We gave each contributor the same topic to consider, “Why I Preach from the Received Text.” In reading these essays it will become clear that all the contributors have high respect for the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible in English, as many make mention of this venerable translation in their respective essays. The reader should not, however, be confused about this book’s primary focus. Critics of the traditional text, in fact, often confuse our position with “King James Version-Onlyism,” a position which is inconsistent with WCF and LBCF 1:8. We did not ask our authors to address, “Why I Preach from the King James Version,” but “Why I Preach from the Received Text.” The primary purpose of this book is a defense of the traditional original Hebrew and Geek text of the Bible (16-17)?

Did he miss the closing sentence of the Introduction: “May the Lord use this book as an instrument to stimulate, revive, confirm, and defend intelligent and effective use of the traditional text of the Word of God” (19)?

We are left with only three possibilities: Either (1) he failed to read these parts of the Introduction, or (2) he read it but did not understand it; or (3) he read it and chose to ignore it. Sadly, it seems the latter is the case.

Second: A Brief Lecture on “Biblical Worldview”:

Here MW chooses to take it upon himself to lecture the readers of his review on the dangers of “tribalism.” The danger, he seems to suggest, is that if one comes to strong convictions about the text of Scripture and embraces the Confessional Text, he necessarily runs the risk of demonizing his opponents, acting uncharitably, and being filled with pride

Again, he designates two “poles” among the essays. On one side there are those he judges to be adequately charitable, as represented by Brett Mahlen, but on the other side, there are those he judges to be uncharitable, as represented by Chris Myers.

MW is especially unhappy with the essay titled “The Invincible Word” (pp. 185-193), written by Chris Myers, pastor of Phoenix Reformed Presbyterian Church, a RPCNA congregation in Phoenix, AZ.

MW takes particular offense at a contrast set up by Myers between, on one hand, “Satan’s Bible with gnostic heretics writing false scriptures and twisting the true scriptures” and, on the other hand, “the received and preserved Word of God” (189).

MW writes the following about Myers’s approach:

This “two-streams hypothesis” is very common outside of Confessional Bibliology; it is found, too, in all forms of KJV defense, especially in the extreme brand of KJV-Onlyism known as Ruckmanism (after Peter Ruckman, who called these two streams the Antiochene and Alexandrian streams).”

If you listen enough to MW you know this is a line of argumentation (i. e., reference to a “two-streams hypothesis”) which he is fond of using. The question, however, remains: Is it accurate to say this of Myers’s article?

Myers, in fact, says nothing in his article about a “two-streams hypothesis,” Ruckman, Antioch or Alexandria.

Ruckman certainly did not invent the idea of drawing a stark contract between things that are spiritually good/healthy and things that are spiritually evil/unhealthy.

Such contrasts abound in early Christianity. Jesus himself told parables contrasting the narrow and broad ways (Matt 7), wise and foolish builders (Matt 7), wheat and tares (Matt 13), sheep and goats (Matt 25). John contrasted light and dark (John 1:5; 3:19, et al). Paul contrasted the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit (Gal 5).

The term “synagogue of Satan” (used by Myers in his article) was not invented by Ruckman, but it appears in the book of Revelation (2:9; 3:9).

These types of contrast continue in post-apostolic Christianity. The Epistle of Barnabas begins with a contrast between “The Two Ways: The Way of Light and the Way of Darkness” (18-20). The Didache begins with the similar contrast between, “The Way of Life and the Way of Death” (1-5). The Didache, in fact, begins, “There are two Ways: a Way of Life and a Way of Death, and the difference between these two Ways is great” (1).

Is it possible that Myers’ metaphors in his article are shaped more by Biblical and general Christian usage, than by Ruckman?

If Pastor Myers personally believes that it is spiritually corrupt and dangerous for modern texts and modern translations to remove portions of the Word of God that he believes are inspired and have been preserved by God (like the TE of Mark and the PA), does he not have a right to warn against their removal using strong and unequivocal language?

Pastor Myers clearly declares that he believes the stakes are high on this issue. He writes, “…. if we do not possess God’s Word, we cannot confidently preach God’s Word, and people will not be converted” (187).

Even given his strong convictions, however, he takes pains at points NOT to make personal attacks on those who have embraced modern texts and translations.

He writes, for example, that this is “not a battle against flesh and blood” (187).

He calls B. B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, and A. A. Hodge “men of God” even though he disagrees with them on text and translation (189).

He later states that “many godly men” who have embraced modern textual criticism “may personally hold to the doctrine of providential preservation,” but, he adds, “this is inconsistent” (191).

I am not writing here simply to defend Pastor Myers’s article. He can put up his own defense. We as editors included the article because one of the goals of this anthology was to provide a platform for various perspectives on why and how the traditional text should be defended. Pastor Myers’s views represents one set of convictions among those who embrace the CB position.

Oddly enough, after accusing Pastor Myers of “demonizing” his opposition, it is MW who offers this final acerbic attack on Myers in his review:

“I respond to a great many arguments from KJV/TR defenders, and I ask the Lord for patience in this work. But Myers’ words are utter and complete foolishness unworthy of response; they are almost impossibly divisive; they are sin.”

Isn’t MW using here a “two-streams” approach to Myers article? Isn’t he creating a dualism of wisdom/foolishness; unity/division; and holiness/sin? When he accuses Myers of being foolish, divisive, and sinful is he not suggesting that he and his position are wise, unifying, and holy?

In fact, isn’t MW the one who “demonizes” Chris Myers in this review?

Third: MW’s Eight Headings on the Readability of the KJV (even though this book is not about the readability of the KJV):

The major part of MW’s 3, 700 word review is located in this third section, devoted to various references in the book to the KJV with which Ward takes exception. I will list each statement highlighted by MW with a brief discussion:

1.     KJV readability is not a real problem.

Here MW takes exception to a comment by Gavin Beers, a Free Church of Scotland Continuing minister. Sadly, MW misses out on the main point of Pastor Beers’s testimony in his article “From Atheism to the Authorized Version.” No doubt, Beers’s comments do not conform to MW’s narrative about the AV no longer being useful for evangelism and discipleship, so he diverts attention to a peripheral matter.

2.     KJV English is not colloquial.

MW here takes exception to one statement by Poul de Gier, a bivocational farmer/pastor of Dutch heritage in Alberta, Canada.

One wonders if MW bothered to read Pastor de Gier’s statement at the close of his article, “Some might think we are ‘King James Only’, but we consider that a dangerous position to hold” (70).

3.     Contemporary versions do not make difficult passages of Scriptures easier to understand.

Here MW disputes Australian pastor Philip Gardiner’s report that reading the book of Job in the NIV as a new Christian did not help him to understand the book.

4.     The KJV was purposefully archaic, even in its day—so there is no problem with archaism.

MW pulls one statement by Pastor Trevor Kirkland out of context, and ignores his larger argument.

5.     Uneducated people can read the KJV with adequate understanding.

MW disputes Brett Mahlen’s reported experience in his prison ministry with incarcerated persons from various educational backgrounds who prefer and have no problems understanding the AV. Again, this does not fit with WM’s narrative that the AV is unintelligible. He even tries to play off his own anecdotal experiences against those of Mahlen.

6.     The KJV follows the inspired Hebrew and Greek word order.

MW takes exception to a comment in Christian McShaffrey’s article regarding the AV’s general adherence to a formal correspondence method of translation. MW makes this comment a straw man. McShaffrey does not claim that the AV always follows the exact word order of the original, but was simply citing with approval and appreciation some places where it does do this.

7.     The KJV contains archaic words, but modern versions also contain difficult words.

MW takes exception to another brief comment by McShaffrey on the AV and again misses his larger point.

8.     Someday the KJV may need to be revised because of changes in English.

MW ends, as he puts it, on a “high note” by agreeing with Scott Meadows’s observation that there may come a time when the AV will need revision. He proceeds then to criticize Meadows, however, because Meadows does not think that time has yet arrived.


Consider overall: The bulk of MW’s review of the book, centered here in this third section of his review, is based on scattered and peripheral comments drawn from the book regarding the AV, without ever addressing the book’s main thrust on the value of the traditional Hebrew and Greek texts and the Protestant doctrine of preservation.

Fourth: Conclusion:

The conclusion consists of three paragraph.

In the first paragraph, MW begins by noting that he shares much “doctrinal belief” with the authors of the anthology, including a commitment to Calvinism and love of the Puritans. As far as I know, however, MW is not confessionally Reformed. He may be a Calvinistic independent Baptist, but he is not a confessional Reformed Baptist. This may explain why he is not able adequately to grasp, explain, or respond to the Confessional Text position.

Here are the last two paragraphs, divided and responded to in sections:

Paragraph two begins:

“But it takes an elaborate set of contrivances to convince people of something they can’t not know, namely that KJV English is unnecessarily archaic and, at places (due to half a millennium of language change), unintelligible.”


Response: Oddly enough, despite its alleged shortcomings as outlined by MW, the AV continues to be among the most read and appreciated Bible translations in the world. Nevertheless, this book is not about the AV but its underlying text.


Paragraph two continues:


“The writers in this book, for all their appeals to the Reformed tradition, do not represent the historic orthodox or Reformation position on the Bible. They claim a perfection for one edition of the Greek New Testament that is a tiny minority view. They tend to insist on the exclusive use of one translation, something the Reformers certainly did not do.”


Response: I would point readers to the discussion of the bibliology of the Protestant orthodox in R. Muller’s PRRD, Vol. 2 and in Richard F. Brash, “Ad Fontes!—The Concept of the ‘Originals’ of Scripture in Seventeenth Century Reformed Orthodoxy”, Westminster Journal of Theology 81 (2019): 123-139. Beyond these secondary sources, I would recommend reading the primary sources (e.g., Whitaker, Owen, Turretin).


We should also remember that truth is not determined by majority vote.


We should also take notice that this book does not advocate “exclusive use” of the KJV, and, in fact, it is not, at core, about translations.


Paragraph two continues:


“They misuse Bible passages such as Psalm 12:6–7, which (I have shown in a recent paper) have never in the history of the church until the advent of KJV-Onlyism been used the way KJV/TR defenders use this passage.”


Response: I examined MW’s claims about Psalm 12:6-7 and the preservation of Scripture and found it wanting in WM 245.


He adds:


“And they divide the church unnecessarily.”


Response: Divisions, however, are not always bad. In 1 Corinthians 11:19, Paul writes, “For there must also be heresies [divisions] among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”


The ending of the second paragraph reads as follows:


“The editors picked some of the most capable and gracious men of their sect, but at the lay and pastoral levels their views are almost always accompanied by a spirit of arrogance and strife. And the editors of this book included at least one essay in which the English translations used by countless faithful Christians were called Satanic.”


Response: I have already responded to MW’s mischaracterization of Chris Myers’s article above. Myers has a right to warn against any text or translation that he believes compromises the integrity of Scripture.


MW begins the third and final paragraph:


“I see in this book an effort to marginalize some TR defenders who cannot speak with any of the intelligence and grace (most of) these authors used.”


Response: I see here a mark of inconsistency. In the previous paragraph he said our views are “almost always accompanied by a spirit of arrogance and strife,” but he now says the authors in this anthology generally speak with “intelligence and grace.” Which is it?


He concludes the review:


“But I cannot recommend this book, and I am dismayed that the tiny Confessional Bibliology movement has gathered enough strength to publish it. I pray that its days will be few.”


Response: We are not surprised that MW could not recommend the book. We would have been shocked if he had. We encourage anyone interested to read the book and think for themselves. If they do this, we believe such readers will see that MW’s review does not present an accurate or fair review or evaluation of our book’s content and purpose.


So, Tolle lege, take up and read.