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 thisbook 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 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.


JTR


Friday, August 12, 2022

WM 246: Interview: Dikin & Johannsson on Why I Preach From The Received Text

 



JTR

The Vision: The Vigilant Shepherd

 


Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 18:11-20.

How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine which went not astray (Matthew 18:13).

Here Matthew records a version of the parable of the lost sheep. The Lord Jesus often used parables in his teaching, on many different occasions.

In Luke 15, he told three consecutive parables about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and then a lost (or Prodigal) son.

In John 10 he offered an extended teaching drawing on this metaphor, declaring, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (v. 11).

Here in Matthew 18 is another distinct occasion where Christ draws on this shepherd and sheep analogy.

Christ first asks, “How think ye?” (v. 12). I love that question. Christ is often asking things like this of us.

This leads to the parable proper (v. 12b). Christ takes it as normal or reasonable that if a shepherd has one hundred sheep and one of them wanders off into the mountains, that the shepherd will leave the ninety-nine and seek the one sheep that has gone astray.

I want to suggest, however, that that is not necessarily normal. I am guessing that most shepherds would have factored in the possibility that some of the sheep in his flock would not make it. They might become sick or injured and die. They might be taken by predators. They might be lost and never recovered. There is also another factor here. If he leaves the ninety-nine to find the one, he perhaps leaves the flock that is secure vulnerable to mischief. I am guessing that an ordinary shepherd who had a 99% sheep retention rate throughout a season would be satisfied with that rate.

But not this shepherd. This is where we learn that this story is not about animal husbandry. It is about evangelism. Here is a God who knows every single one of his sheep. He can call each of them by name. The sheep here are the elect of God. They are, as Paul will put it in Ephesians 1:4 “chosen in him before the foundation of the world,” and he will not let a single one of them slip through his hands.

What is described here is the relentless pursuit of the Savior of his elect sheep, who were lost until he finds them and saves them.

We call it the parable of the lost sheep, but, in truth, it might well be called the parable of the Vigilant Shepherd.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Invitation: 2022 Keach Conference (September 24)


2022 Keach Conference is coming! The Keach Conference is an annual theology and ministry conference hosted by the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia.

This year's meeting will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at Grace Baptist Chapel in Hampton, Virginia, 9:30 am-3:30 pm.

The theme will be "Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation" (chapter 15 of the 2LBCF-1689).

Four speakers will present one message each addressing the theme:

Timothy Decker, Trinity RBC, Roanoke

Luke Peterson, Emmanuel BC, Verona

Andy Rice, Providence BC, Harrisonburg

Josh Henson, Grace Covenant Church, Virginia Beach

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required and the attendance number is limited. So, if you plan to attend please register here as soon as possible to reserve your place:


Look forward to seeing you in September!

Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

WM 245: Examining Mark Ward's Claims on Psalm 12:6-7 and the Preservation of Scripture

 



I posted WM 245 last week but am just getting around to posting it here along with my notes.

In this episode we will be examining MW’s claims concerning Psalm 12:6-7 and the preservation of Scripture.

In WM 244 I posted a sermon I preached seven years ago on Psalm 12 and the doctrine of the providential preservation of Scripture. In that episode I suggested I might do a follow up podcast relating to Psalm 12:6-7 and the preservation of Scripture in light of MW’s recent suggestion that no one in the history of Christianity until KJVO (in the mid-twentieth century) has used Psalm 12:7, in particular, in reference to preservation.

Here is the claim MW had made:

First: FromTCC 3/7 (posted 7/25/22), MW said (c. 8:40 mark):

And I could not find anybody who used Psalm 12:7, and especially the second half of v. 7—“though shalt preserve them from this generation for ever”—I couldn’t find anybody in the history of the church until KJV-Onlyism… I can’t find anyone who applied Psalm 12:7b … to textual preservation….

Second, in a review of the book I co-edited of Why I Preach from the Received Text, a review at least one person described as “toxic”, posted to his blog (7/24/22), Ward writes:

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….

He then adds:

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.

The question: Is Mark Ward’s claim true?

I want to approach this from two directions:

First direction: Is it irrational to suggest that the pronouns in v. 7 might be taken in reference to the “pure words” in v. 6?

Two kinds of objections might be raised against taking v. 7 as referring to the “pure words” of v. 6.

The first objection relates to the fact that the pronouns in v. 7 are masculine in gender and “pure words” in v. 6 are feminine.

Response: Peter Van Kleeke, Sr. in An Exegetical Grounding For A Standard Sacred Text (2021) on p. 45 (n. 1) of his discussion on Psalm 12 cites Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (originally published in 1813; Oxford/Clarendon English translation reprint, 1990):

“Through a weakening in the distinction of gender, which is noticeable elsewhere, and which probably passed from the colloquial language into that of literature, masculine suffixes (especially in the plural) are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives.”

The second objection relates to the pronoun in v. 7b being in the singular (“him” though translated “them” in the AV).

The pronoun, however, can simply be understood in a representative and collective sense, meaning something like, “thou shalt preserve him [meaning, every single one of the poor, or every single one of the pure words] from this generation for ever.”

MW seems willing to grant that v. 7a might refer to the preservation of the words, but he is adamant that this does not apply to v. 7b.

One major problem with this statement, however, is that it fails to recognize that v. 7 appears to utilize the from of Hebrew poetry known as “synonymous parallelism.” That is, the author makes a statement in the first clause, and then uses slightly different words or terms in the second clause to repeat or even emphasize the initial statement.

Given this convention, v. 7b is likely best understood as simply restating and affirming, if not expanding upon, v. 7a.

Another problem with MW’s interpretation regards a point I made in my sermon on Psalm 12 (from WM 244). Namely, the statement in Psalm 12:7 should be taken as a “both-and” rather than an “either-or.” The pronouns in v. 7 refer both to the “poor” in v. 5 and to the “pure words” in v. 6. I also noted that this was the interpretation given by Matthew Poole in his Commentary on Psalm 12:7.

Preliminary conclusion: It is not irrational to think that v. 7 refers to the preservation of Scripture.

Second direction: Is the interpretation of Psalm 12:7 as relating to the preservation of Scripture unknown in Christian history prior to KJVO in the mid-20th century?

MW claims to have consulted over 60 commentaries without finding anyone who interpreted Psalm 12:7 as relating to the preservation of Scripture.

His claim, however, brought to mind Van Kleeck, Sr.’s work cited above, which has a substantial discussion of Psalm 12 (see pp. 45-79), including the issue of whether v. 7 can be interpreted to relate to Scriptural preservation. In the course of discussion, Van Kleeck, Sr. cites several pre-modern examples of such an interpretation from Christian writers.

First: The Italian exegete Michael Ayguan (1340-1416) in his commentary on the Psalms. He wrote: “Keep them: that is, not as the passage is generally taken, Keep or guard Thy people, but Thou shalt keep or make good thy words: and by doing so, shalt preserve him—him, the needy, him the poor—from this generation” (54-55).

Second: Martin Luther (1483-1546) wrote a commentary on Psalm 12 in 1519. Van Kleeck, Sr. says Luther noted “three possible interpretations of this passage: the words, the saints, and the ungodly” (56). He cites Luther as saying, “it is in the Hebrew ‘thou shalt preserve them’; and it refers to the words of God, as [Jerome] translates it” (56).

Third: Luther’s hymn (1523) titled “Look down, O Lord, from heaven behold,” based on Psalm 12. He cites this translation of Luther’s second stanza:

            Thy truth wilt [persevere], O Lord,

                        From this vile generation,

            Make us lean on thy Word,

                        With calm anticipation (61).

Fourth: The Protestant English Bible translation tradition: Coverdale Bible (1535); Matthews Bible (1537, [1549]); Taverner Bible (1539); The Great Bible (1540); The Third Part of the Bible (1550); Geneva Bible (1560); Bishop’s Bible (1568); KJV (1611).

Fifth: Matthew Poole’s Commentary (1685). He writes:

Thou shalt keep them, either 1. The poor and needy, Psalm 12:5 …. Or, 2. Thy words or promises last mentioned, Psalm 12:6… (75).

Sixth: In John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the Old Testament (1765), he writes:

“Thou shalt keep them—Thy words or promises: these thou wilt observe and keep, both now, and from this generation for ever” (76).

In addition to these six, I might add Calvin’s commentary on the Psalm (1557). Though Calvin does not prefer to take “them” in v. 7 in reference to the “pure words” he writes: “Some give this exposition of the passage, Thou wilt keep them, namely, thy words; but this does not seem to me to be suitable.”

Again, this is not the interpretation he prefers, but he acknowledges “some” held the view in his day that v. 7 referred to the preservation of the words.

BTW, the Calvin Translation Society edition of Calvin’s Commentary on Psalms (1845) has a note at “thy words” above, stating, “This is the view of Hammond. He refers the them to the words of the Lord mentioned in the preceding verse, and the him following to the godly, or just man, and explains the verse thus: ‘Thou, O Lord, shalt keep, or perform, those words, thou shalt preserve the just man from this generation for ever” (178).

In the comments section on MW’s blog on his review post, R. L. Vaughan challenges MW’s claim and adds a few more pre-modern examples of Protestants interpreting Psalm 12:6-7 as referring to scriptural preservation. They include (listed in the order posted by Vaughan):

W. A. Jarrel (1907);

Louis Gaussen in his famous work on inspiration (1844);

Samuel Hanson Cox (1833);

Joseph Parker (c. 1885);

Spurgeon’s sermon on Psalm 12:6 (no date);

H. Donner (Dutch writer; no date);

Samuel Howard Ford (1903);

Possibly James Montgomery Boice’s Psalms commentary;

Ebenezer Richie (1868).

MW’s response to Vaughan: “Give me some time to consider what you have brought forward.”

Conclusion:

Here’s the problem with MW’s argumentation on Psalm 12:6-7. He wants to suggest that CB uses the same arguments in favor of the preservation of the traditional text that KJVO use for their position, and thus to discredit the book (in his so-called “toxic” review) and the CB movement in general (in the TCC video) by tying it to KJVO. He does so even though he has recently publicly stated that he would no longer attempt to conflate CB with KJVO.

This leads MW to make this claim (that no one in the history of Christianity connected Psalm 12:7 with scriptural preservation until the modern KJVO movement) apparently without ever properly investigating whether or not that claim is true. It isn’t.

It reminded me of his claim in his 2020 article critiquing CB that there were 28 editions of the TR prior to Scrivener. That’s factually inaccurate (as I pointed out in my recent review of MW’s article at the Kept Pure conference), but it makes for good rhetoric.

One wonders when he made this claim about Psalm 12:6-7 on the TCC why others on the panel who have publicly declared that they care about “just weights and measures” and “getting the facts right” did not object or at least questions the validity of it.

One also wonders if Mark Ward be offering a public correction/retraction of this claim or doubling down on it?

JTR


Monday, August 08, 2022

D. Scott Meadows on the "majestic eloquence" of the AV


Image: Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster Abbey

My friend Pastor D. Scott Meadows of Calvary Baptist Church in Exeter, NH shared this statement today to his social media:

For over fifty years, the Authorised Version (KJV) has been my regular reading translation almost exclusively and the focus of my study of the English Bible. Its majestic elegance runs in my veins, many passages memorized without even trying, from dozens of read-throughs, Genesis to Revelation, in a year or less, besides countless unscheduled readings of select passages with sustained meditation. For anyone with appreciation for great literature and sensitivity to the beauty of poetic language, this regal translation grows on you. I think there is nothing comparable in English.

JTR

Ebenezer Ritchie on Psalm 12:6-7

 


Image: I found this sketch of Ebenezer Ritchie on the website of the town of Paisly, Scotland in an article on the restoration of the Original Secession Church building where he served as pastor.

Note: R. L. Vaughan posted this quote to comments on the WM 245 youtubevideo, and I shared on my twitter @Riddle1689 and thought I’d post here too.

Scottish Presbyterian Ebenezer Ritchie on Ps. 12:6-7 and the preservation of Scripture (1868):

“Before passing from this subject, I would advise, in reference to the canon of Scripture, that you meddle not with them that are given to change. We might reason, a priori, from the regard God has to His Word, and the important ends intended by it, as a perfect and infallible record and rule, that it is so much the object of His care and superintending providence that no book of Scripture has perished, and even that no words of God contained it have been lost.

‘The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.’

But the question occurs, where are the original inspired words of Scripture to be found? We answer, In the received Hebrew and Greek texts, with their marginal readings, which are the prototype of our English version, and of almost all vernacular translations of the Scriptures at the present time.”

From The Original Secession Magazine, Rev. E. Ritchie, Address to the Students of Divinity of the United Original Secession Church, Volume VIII, No. XII, November 1868, p. 734.

JTR

Friday, August 05, 2022

The Vision (8.5.22): Except ye be converted, and become as little children

 


Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 18:1-10.

Matthew 18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The original disciples asked the Lord, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1). Most of us were born with a desire to be noticed, to stand out in the crowd, to be recognized as the best or the greatest. We soon learn, however, just how ordinary or average, if not below average (!), we actually are.

How does Christ respond to their question? He begins not with his words, but with a symbolic or spiritual and prophetic action.

This is the sort of thing that prophets do. Isaiah walked naked and barefoot for three years to show how Egypt and Ethiopia would be humbled by the Assyrians (see Isa 20—just six verses!). Jeremiah wore a filthy girdle about his waist to show how sinful Israel would cling to a holy God (Jer 13). Hosea married the harlot Gomer (Hosea 1).

Christ brings forward a “little child” and he sets the child “in the midst of them” (18:2). The word here rendered as “little child” is paidion, and it means a very young child, even an infant. The same word is used in Matthew 2:11 to describe the wise men coming to Bethlehem to see “the young child with Mary his mother.”

A young child is a perfect symbol of weakness, helplessness, dependency, and vulnerability. Such a child depends on others to do absolutely everything for them. They need others to feed them, to give them to drink, to clothe them, to change them, to carry them.

After providing this striking visual illustration, Christ then adds his powerful words, beginning, “Verily [Amen] I say unto you, except ye be converted [strepho, meaning turn or turn around, or change]….” (v. 3).

Most of the disciples, save Judas, were believers, true followers of Christ, but they were headed in the wrong direction, by trying to vie with one another to be the greatest in the kingdom as the world defines such things.

Christ says they must do a 180 and instead of seeking greatness for themselves, they had to become “as little children.” Otherwise, they could not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Spurgeon observed: “A little child has no ambitious dreams; he is satisfied with little things; he trusts; he aims not at greatness; he yields to command” (Matt, 254).

We are reminded here of what really makes a man’s life great. It is following the Lord Jesus Christ. How can we be great in the kingdom? We must become like little children. We must acknowledge our total dependence upon him in all things.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle