Friday, October 21, 2022

The Vision (10.21.22): The Meekness of Christ


Image: Pears, North Garden, Virginia, October, 2022.

Note: Devotion is taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 21:1-11.

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King cometh unto thee meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass (Matthew 21:4-5).

As Matthew describes our Lord’s “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem, he declares that Christ’s actions fulfilled the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9.

Matthew does not merely cite the passage as it appears in the Old Testament, but, guided by the Spirit, he offers a free citation of it that rightly captures its essence. Whereas Zechariah in the original spoke of the Messiah as being “just,” “having salvation,” and “lowly,” Matthew combines these into one declaration that Christ in his actions demonstrated that he was “meek.”

This term was used by our Lord in his teaching of the beatitudes in Matthew 5:5 when he said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (citing Psalm 37:11a). “Meekness” must not to be confused with “weakness.” Biblical meekness refers to power and strength that is under divine control and directed to God’s purposes. Christ will later call upon those that labor and are heavy laden to come unto him, to take his yoke upon them and learn from him, “for,” he said, “I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Here is Christ, the one who was in the beginning with God and was God (John 1:1), who had entered into time.

Here is Christ, the one made all things, “and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3), who had become man.

Here is Christ, the one who was “in the form of God” and “thought is not robbery to be equal with God” who had “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness o men” (Philippians 2:6-7).

Here is Christ who left all the riches of heaven and for our sakes become poor (2 Cor 8:9).

Here is Christ, who might have called for twelve legions of angels to deliver him from arrest and crucifixion (Matt 26:53), but who, in passive obedience, submitted himself to the will of the Father.

Here is meekness. Here is power and strength, the Servant and only begotten Son given over to the will of Father, clothed in humility.

In the apostle John’s account of this event he acknowledges, “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him” (John 12:16).

Christ came to the cross with all meekness that he might give his life “ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). To him be all praise, glory, and honor.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Conference @ Soli Deo Reformed Baptist Church, Budapest (10/29/22): Reformation and the Text of the Bible

I'm lo
oking forward to this conference at SDG Reformed Baptist Church in Budapest, Hungary on 10/29/22. Come join us if you live in the Budapest area or in Central Europe.

For more info and registration:

Church website:


Thursday, October 20, 2022

Charles Surrett messages on the Textus Receptus & on the NKJV translation

A friend recently sent me a link to a 2010 message by Charles Surrett of Ambassador Baptist College defending the traditional text from a charitable IFB perspective.

I then ran across a related message from Surrett comparing the KJV and NKJV.

Both are worth giving a listen:


Friday, October 14, 2022

The Vision (10.14.22): Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David


Image: North Garden, Virginia, October, 2022.

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 20:29-34.

And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David (Matthew 20:30).

Matthew 20:3-34 records Christ’s healing of two blind men. Notice three things in their crying out to Christ:

First, notice the cry for mercy. Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve. Mercy is when you don’t get what you do deserve.

The cry for mercy is, in some ways, a confession of sin. It is saying, I know that I have come short of God’s glory. I deserve God’s wrath and punishment, both in this life and that which is to come. But I am asking Christ to be the instrument through which I do not receive what I deserve.

The cry for mercy is a common refrain found in the Psalms. David’s great Psalm of Repentance in Psalm 51 begins, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions” (v. 1; see also Psalm 86:3; 123:3).

Second, notice that they call Jesus “Lord.” This anticipates the earliest Christian creed, “Jesus is Lord” (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11).

Third, notice that they call him “the Son of David.” The Gospel of Matthew began in 1:1 with calling our Lord “the Son of David.”. This is the fulfillment of prophecy, that the Messiah would come from the line of David and establish an everlasting kingdom (see 2 Samuel 7:12-13).

This prophecy is there when Isaiah spoke of a rod that would come forth from the stem of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1-2), and when the Lord said through Jeremiah, “I will raise unto David a righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

To say Jesus is the Son of David is to declare he is true man; to say he is Lord is to say he is true God.

This healing of the two blind men is a faithful record of an event that took place in Christ’s ministry, but it also has spiritual overtones. It relays the experience of all those who were spiritually blind in their unregenerate state, but who were converted and who then called out to God through Christ for mercy, confessing him to be their Lord and King.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

WM 255: Richard A. Muller on the Textus Receptus & the Authoritas Divina Duplex



R. L. Vaughan considers Chris Myers' comments on "Satan's Bible"


R. L. Vaughan has posted an insightful article to his blog, examining the pearl-clutching "outrage" expressed by a few evangelicals (who embrace the modern critical text) over Chris Myers' article in the Why I Preach From The Received Text anthology in which Myers suggests that contemporary translations from the modern critical text are "based on Satan's Bible."

Here's how Vaughan's post ends:

It is not necessary to believe that evangelical text critics and modern Bible translators are Satanists in order to believe they have been led astray in creating, adopting, and/or translating a certain defective text. Some of us believe that the Westcott-Hort/NU text tradition leaves out and changes some of God’s words. If we are correct, then the basic point Christopher Myers makes is correct. Some of us might make the point in different language than Myers, but the general point is true nevertheless.

It will be interesting to hear whether and how Myers himself responds to these criticisms.

Greater is he that is in his word (God) than he who opposes it (Satan). The word of God is not bound. It is not broken. The Devil cannot defeat it.

You can read Vaughan's whole blog post here.


Saturday, October 08, 2022

James White Debates Calvin, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and Owen


Here’s a follow up to WM 254 covering the JW vs. PVK debate in which James White mocked prayer and the inward work of the Holy Spirit in recognizing and obeying the authentic text of Scripture. In so doing, he was actually debating classic Protestant Bibliology.

James White said the following (listen here):

You say that this [the Textus Receptus] is what we must follow, and we are asking where does this come from?

And your answer is, We pray about it. Is that how you [answer]? Have you prayed about every variant in the NT?...

So when a Mormon missionary says, I prayed about the Book of Mormon, and the Holy Spirit testified to me that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, how would you respond, because you just told us that the way we know the Bible is the Word of God is by praying about it….

Are you seriously suggesting that John Calvin taught us to pray over differences in manuscripts? Can you give me a single place in the voluminous writings of the Reformer of Geneva where he taught us to pray to determine when the Greek manuscripts differed from the Latin Vulgate….

In answer to his challenge, see the following:

John Calvin, Institutes (1.7.5) (emphasis added):

Let this point therefore stand: that those whom the Holy Spirit has inwardly taught truly rest upon Scripture, and that Scripture is indeed self-authenticated [autopiston]; hence it is not right to subject it to proof and reasoning. And the certainty it deserves with us, it attains by the testimony of the Spirit. For even if it wins reverence for itself by its own majesty, it seriously affects us only when it is sealed upon our hearts through the Spirit. Therefore, illumined by his power, we believe neither by our own nor by anyone else’s judgement that Scripture is from God; but above human judgment we affirm with utter certainty (just as if we were gazing upon the majesty of God himself) that it has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry of men. We seek no proofs, no mark of genuineness upon which our judgment may lean; but we subject our judgment and wit to it as a thing far beyond any guesswork! This we do, not as persons accustomed to seize upon some unknown thing, which, under closer scrutiny displeases them, but fully conscious that we hold the infallible truth! Nor do we do this as those miserable men who habitually bind over their minds to the thralldom of superstition: but we feel that the undoubted power of his divine majesty lives and breathes there. By this power we are drawn and inflamed, knowingly and wittingly, to obey him, yet also more vitally and more effectively than mere human knowing!

See also Westminster Confession of Faith, 1:5 (emphasis added):

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture;a and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.b


a.     1 Tim 3:15. • b. Isa 59:21John 16:13-141 Cor 2:10-121 John 2:2027.


See also John Owen, The Reason of Faith (Works, Vol. 4:57) (emphasis added):


The work of the Holy Ghost unto this purpose consists in the saving illumination of the mind; and the effect of it is a supernatural light, whereby the mind is renewed; see Rom. xii.2; Eph. i.18, 19, iii.16-19. It is called a “heart to understand, eyes to see, ears to hear,” Deut. xxix.4; the “opening of the eyes of our understanding,” Eph. 1.18; the “giving of an understanding,” 1 John v.20. Hereby we are enabled to discern the evidences of the divine original and authority of the Scripture that are in itself, as well as assent unto the truth contained in it; and without it we cannot do so, for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Cor. ii.14….. That there is a divine and heavenly excellency in the Scripture cannot be denied by any who, on any grounds or motive whatever, do own its divine original…. But these we cannot discern, be they in themselves never so illustrious, without the effectual communication of the light mentioned unto our minds,—that is, without divine, supernatural illumination.


And John Owen, The Reason of Faith (Works, Vol. 4:59) (emphasis added):


But as a pretense herof hath been abused, as we shall see afterward, so the pleading of it is liable to be mistaken; for some are ready to apprehend that this is a retreat unto a Spirit of revelation is but a pretense to discard all rational arguments, and to introduce enthusiasm into their room. Now, although the charge be grievous, yet, because it is groundless, we must not forego what the Scripture plainly affirms and instructs us in, thereby to avoid it. Scripture testimonies may be expounded according to the analogy of faith; but denied or despised, see they never so contrary unto our apprehension of things, they must not be. Some, I confess, seem to disregard both the objective work of the Holy Spirit in this matter (whereof we shall treat afterward) and his subjective work also in our minds, that all things may be reduced unto sense and reason. But we must grant that a “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” to open the eyes of our understanding is needful to enable us to believe the Scripture to be the Word of God in due manner, or forego the gospel; and our duty it is to pray continually for that Spirit, if we intend to be established in the faith thereof.




James White’s naturalistic approach to Scripture is contrary to the classic Protestant emphasis upon the necessity of the inward work of the Holy Spirit, as emphasized in Calvin, the WCF, and Owen.


Friday, October 07, 2022

WM 254: Seven Observations on the James White vs. Peter Van Kleeck, Jr. Debate on the TR

Here are seven observations on the James White vs. Peter Van Kleeck, Jr. Debate on the TR, held on September 24, 2022 (Watch it here).

First, I felt there were many aspects of the debate that were not handled in a fair or evenhanded manner.

Second, PVK began his opening statement with a very generous and charitable overture toward JW and those who hold to the modern text.

Third, simply on technical, forensic grounds, PVK clearly won this debate, as he rightly pointed out in his closing statement.

Fourth, even though PVK was not attempting to make an empirical defense of the TR but a more philosophical and theological defense of it, he did offer some meaningful rejoinders to JW’s evidential-based arguments.

Fifth, one of the highlights of the debate was in PVK’s cross-examination of JW, where he effectively showed (again) that, in the end, JW cannot point to a single verse in the Bible that might not be subject to change based on new manuscripts discoveries or the development of new manuscript discoveries.

Sixth, it was striking how JW in his cross-examination of PVK mocked the distinct spiritual aspects of the Protestant approach to Scripture (even comparing it to Mormonism).

Correction: The quotation from John Calvin's Institutes is from 1.7.5 (not 1.6.5, as mistakenly written on the PPT shared in the video).

Seventh, finally, PVK took his own unique approach to this debate and chose to argue on more philosophical grounds than evidential grounds. I think he could have pushed back with some evidential arguments at points.

All in all, again, PVK did prevail. It is a shame that JW did not respond, especially to the first two arguments. We are waiting for modern evangelicals to provide a Biblical based justification for their Bibliology. We are also waiting for those who are confessionally Reformed to respond to our suggestion that confessional Bibliology is a retrieval of the Reformed and Protestant Orthodox method.

We did not get these responses in this debate.


The Vision (10.7.22): Christ: Our Minister and our Ransom


Image: Pond, North Garden, Virginia, October 2022.

Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 20:17-28.

Matthew 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

            In the aftermath of the request made by the mother of the apostles James and John asking Christ if her sons might sit at his right and his left in his kingdom (not knowing what she was asking; see Matthew 27:38), our Lord told his disciples, “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister” (20:26).

            Christ was telling his disciples not to seek greatness for themselves, as the world defines such things. The prophet Jeremiah said the same to his servant Baruch, “And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not…” (Jeremiah 45:5). Instead, we are to seek first to be slaves to Christ, and then to one another.

            Christ himself set the example for this. He came not to be served, but to serve. He gave his life as a ransom (the price of redeeming a slave) for many. Note the hint here of “particular redemption.” He died on the cross not for all without exception but for his elect saints. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep (see John 10:14-15). Christ is our minister and our ransom.

            Throughout this record we see the patience of Christ with his disciples, and we recognize the same longsuffering disposition directed toward us. Christ is patient with us, growing us into maturity in him. Just as he did not give up on James and John, or the rest of true disciples, he does not give up on us or abandon us, even when we are slow to learn.

            May God the Father be given all praise and thanksgiving, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit.

            Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

More background to the JW vs. PVK debate on the TR: Bayes' Theorem


From my twitter @ Riddle1689:

Regarding a postmortem of the JW vs. PVK debate on the TR, I found this video helpful to understand Bayes' Theorem, appealed to by PVK in his argument for a high probability that the TR =the autograph.

JW again appeared clueless on how to respond to this argument (maybe with good reason) and so never really responded to it.


Background for the JW vs. PVK TR debate: Swinburne's argument for the probability of the resurrection


From my twitter @Riddle1689:

If you listened to the JW versus PVK debate on the TR, you might find this lecture by Oxford philosopher R. Swinburne arguing for the probability of the resurrection (cited by PVK) to be of interest.

PVK used Swinburne's three types of evidence (posterior historical; background; and prior historical) in his argument for the probability of the resurrection and applied this to an argument for the probability of the TR being the autograph.

It did not appear that JW was aware of Swinburne's argument or three types of evidence and never really offered any response to PVK's argument here.


Saturday, October 01, 2022

Video & Audio: 2022 Kept Pure in All Ages Conference: Confessional Text Apologetics (July 22-23, 2022 @ Five Solas OPC, Reedsburg, Wisconsin)


Devotion 1: Christian McShaffrey, Principles of Apologetics (1 Peter 3:15-16)

Lecture 1: Jeff Riddle, Reasoning with the Wise and the Scribe (1 Corinthians 1:20-21): Why Evangelicals Fail in Responding to Bart Ehrman

Devotion 2: Brett Mahlen, Wisdom and Apologetics (Proverbs 26:4-5)

Lecture 2: Jeff Riddle, Reasoning with the Disputer of this World (1 Corinthians 1:20-21): Mark Ward and the "Which TR?" Objection

Lecture 3: Jeff Riddle, Reasoning with them that Believe (1 Corinthians 1:20-21): Was Scrivener's TR "back-translated" from the KJV?