Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Wm 256: Review: An Ordination Sermon that Omits John 7:53--8:11
The current overarching Philosophy replaces Scripture as the first principle with Science. The garment continues to unravel.
He removes the pericope adulterae, proclaiming that only the authentic word of God should be preached from the pulpit, and then proceeds to use unattributed non-scriptural information to buttress his argument that the text makes more sense without the pericope. Clueless, or something more sinister?
This is yet another indication that the OPC may be heading for dark times. It would appear that a quite a few men have crept in unawares.
As an aside, why do so many of these "evangelical" critics have voices that bring to mind 1 Cor 6:9?
As other’s have noted elsewhere, this is a strange choice of an ordination sermon. Pastor Keele tries to mold it into a “preach the word” charge to the minister, while actually mainly making the point that modern textual criticism that is a “good work” that separates “God’s true word from false words.”
To make it tie into the occasion, Keele states that the word is the light and that the only true knowledge is in God’s word. “This is why we read it, this is why we study, it is why we do the good work of textual criticism to separate God’s true word from false words.” Clearly, then, he is exhorting ministers to preach from the critical text and translations based on it.
Observation 1. This sermon strikes me as an attempt to be different from the norm of ordination sermons – primarily for the purpose of being different. This is something of a judgment call that may be wrong, but nevertheless to say it strikes me that way is the only sincere way to express it.
Observation 2. He gets quite a few text critical facts wrong, such as repeating Bruce Metzger’s claim about the PA and Greek church fathers. Metzger was wrong about the “Greek church fathers.”
Observation 3. John 7:53-8:11 is not part of God’s word, Keele asserts. Therefore it (and by extension, other additions) should not be preached. Since “the pulpit is only for God’s word,” then “this text will not be addressed.” Of course, he is addressing it and for quite a while, just in a negative “it is not God’s word” way.
Observation 4. “The pulpit is for God’s word alone,” states Pastor Keele. I agree, but this claim rings hollow when he later preaches, as truth apparently, the trained Levite temple police, “old bald Nicodemus,” and especially the extended effort concerning the four large 75 foot tall candles set up in the temple courtyard. The pulpit is for God’s word alone – and apparently, any history that fits the points I wish to make.
[Re “temple police” I looked and found this is a NRSV thing; also the HCSB used those words, but changed them to “servants” in the CSB.]
Observation 5. When Pastor Keele, in this context, says that the good work of textual criticism is to separate God’s true word from false words, he means John 7:53-8:11 are false words. (Channeling Mark Ward) Keele is clear that when he refers to false words, he is not speaking of words in the sectarian New World Translation or the Book of Mormon, but to words in the Bible that I carry to church and preach from every Sunday (the KJV), and by small extension, to words in the Bible our Spanish missionaries preach from (the RVA, translated from the traditional text). When I have preached from John 7:53-8:11, I have preached false words! And I thought only TR and KJV folks were the “meanies” who said such bad things. [To be clear, I am not offended,” but I strongly disagree with Keele.]
Sorry to be so lengthy, Brother Riddle.
I came across a sample sermon (“worked example”) that omits Mark 9:44,46. The text concerned is Mark 9:33-50 and the following is an extract from the sermon:
“Now there a lot of parts to this section [verses 42-50] that need to be clarified, so let me take them one by one.”
“First, why are some verses in the footnote of the ESV and modern translations? Very basically, while we believe that the original manuscripts were given without error, and we also believe that God in His sovereignty through manuscript transmission and translation has given us a Bible that is fully reliable in every respect, there is what C.S. Lewis called a ‘science’’ of scholarly decision. That makes it clear that verse 44 and verse 46 (in the footnotes) were added in later by come probably overzealous copyist. Jesus does say, verse 48, ‘’ Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched,’ quoting from the end of Isaiah, but we don’t need to underline it three times, as it were (Moody and Weekes 2014, 116).”
Clearly, the Critical Text was used. A quick examination of the relevant footnote shows it as stating, “Some manuscripts add verses 44 and 46 (which are identical with verse 48)” (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A43&version=ESV). But why are these manuscripts (but not others) relegated to a footnote? Could our Lord Jesus not have said verse 48 three times to emphasize the seriousness of stumbling a simple believing Christian (“one of these little ones”)?
Moody, Josh, and Weekes, Robin. Burning Hearts: Preaching to the Affections. Fearn: Christian Focus Publications, 2014.
Erratum: Could our Lord Jesus not have said verse 48 three times to emphasize the seriousness of stumbling ourselves ("thy/thine ... offend thee")?
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