Better Bibles Through Skepticism

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Ransom, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    I made a remark in an earlier thread about how KJV-only arguments against the modern versions echo the arguments of Roman Catholic apologists against the evangelical doctrines of the sufficiency of Scripture.

    What follows is a slight re-working of a post I made elsewhere. It comprises part of a critique of a KJV-only Web site by an author named "Chris" (whose last name I will leave out), which site is also no longer available. My edits here are basically to mark up the text in a format more suitable to the BB, and to remove extraneous material that makes no sense out of context.

    Chris' page starts out with a Scriptural citation, John 5:24 and others. This introduction closes with a note that once a Christian becomes born again he matures by feeding on the Word of God. "Doubting the Word of God," he writes, "is not a natural condition for a child of God."

    He then goes on to tell this little hypothetical anecdote:

    Ah yes. The classic KJV-only "confusion" sob story. Multiple translations undermine Biblical authority, it says, because they never agree on anything. Better to just have one single Bible translation that everyone can refer to and avoid all this confusion.

    Doesn't this line of reasoning sound familiar? It is none other than a rehashed version of the standard argument commonly used by the apologists for the Roman church against the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura. For example, see this passage by Patrick Madrid, from a debate against James White:

    In other words, all these pastors claim to believe "sola scriptura" and yet they cannot agree on the meaning of the Scriptures. All this confusion! Therefore, Madrid says implicitly, you need a single final authority - the Roman Catholic Church.

    The Roman apologists employ the same kind of skepticism when dealing with the text of Scripture that they do when dealing with its interpretation. In the first volume of their trilogy Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, David King and William Webster cite several examples of Roman apologists appealing to the uncertainty of the text in favour of so-called Sacred Tradition. They refute these assertions with the words of the textual critics; both Protestant and Catholic critics alike affirm the overwhelming certainty of the text, such that no essential truth remains in question because of a variant reading. As one author puts it, "In any event, no doctrine of the Christian faith depends solely upon a passage that is textually uncertain." [2]

    How does this differ in substance from the claims Chris is making? His argument is exactly the same in form: all these Bibles claim to be the Word of God and yet they cannot agree on the exact wording. All this confusion! Therefore, Chris says, you need a single final authority - the King James Version.

    This appeal to skepticism, from both camps, is agenda-driven. Its purpose is to drive Christians towards an arbitrary standard of authority - not by positively establishing that authority as authentic, but by creating skepticism. King remarks on this kind of appeal:

    Replace "oral tradition" with "KJV-onlyism" and "the Roman Church" with "the King James Bible," and you have Chris' argument in a nutshell.

    Footnotes

    [1] Debate between James White vs. Patrick Madrid, "Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura?" Bayview Orthodox Presbyterian Church, September 28.

    [2] Bruce M. Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1990) 281, qtd. in David T. King, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, vol. 1 (Battle Ground, WA: Christian Resources, 2001) 154.

    [3] King, op. cit. 157.
     
  2. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,158
    Likes Received:
    322
    Two things:

    First:
    Final Authority of Scripture is the Baptist version of the somewhat dissimilar "Sola Scriptura" of Martin Luther and the Protestant Lutheran Church wing of the Reformation.

    As a Baptist I do not want to known as a Protestant. I am not protesting the Church of Rome. I don't accept their claim as the Church founded by Jesus Christ built upon the "rock" of the Apostle Peter. To me to “protest” the Church of Rome lends some credibility to their claims. For me “reject” is a more functional word than “protest”

    Lutheranism is still in error RE: as mentioned baptismal regeneration and "consubstantiation" (the Lutheran version of Roman "transubstantiation").

    Having said that leads into the fact that the Baptist distinctive concerning Scripture:
    is "final authority" in the realm of faith and practice. There is room for consideration of other sources but these “other sources” can not be equal to or greater than Scripture as per the RCC pronouncements of the Magisterium or Ex Cathedra papal decrees.

    After all the formal definition of the Trinity took several hundred years and involved several extra-biblical documents.

    I suppose a case could be made that “Sola Scriptura” and “Final Authority of the Scriptures” mean the same thing but I prefer the Baptist shibboleth not being a Lutheran or a Protestant.

    Second:
    The KJV translators themselves said that the proliferation of translations was a good thing (not a source of confusion) in that they conveyed “the sense” of the Scriptures via comparison.

    HankD
     
  3. Scott J

    Scott J
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,462
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes but you forget... They weren't perfectly, inerrantly, divinely inspired in their doctrines, practices, or even opinions about the work they were engaged in.

    They were only perfectly, inerrantly, divinely inspired in their word choices for the translation. Why even their marginal notes were corruptions!!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  4. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is going off my own topic, but I have "two things" of my own to add.

    HankD said:

    Final Authority of Scripture is the Baptist version of the somewhat dissimilar "Sola Scriptura" of Martin Luther and the Protestant Lutheran Church wing of the Reformation.

    First: in the same debate, James White, a Baptist, defines sola Scriptura as follows:

    It doesn't seem to me that this definition differs substantially from your "final authority"; all other things being equal, why should I not stick with the traditional jargon and call it sola Scriptura?

    I suppose a case could be made that “Sola Scriptura” and “Final Authority of the Scriptures” mean the same thing but I prefer the Baptist shibboleth not being a Lutheran or a Protestant.

    Second: "Baptists are not Protestants" is not the Baptist shibboleth. Plenty of Baptists, including myself, are perfectly comfortable with our history coming out of the Radical Reformation in the 17th century. Baptists are not only Protestants, they are thoroughgoing Protestants.
     
  5. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,158
    Likes Received:
    322
    Yes, this is getting off track but somewhat related bcause Sola Scriptura and its many wrinkles is a related issue to the question of a "Better Bible".

    Right and I admitted to that.

    I prefer “final authority’ because it is the phraseology most often found in written forms of the Baptist distinctives.

    I am not saying you should or shouldn't , personally I am not a Lutheran and I disagree with Lutheranism on several points. Again, I don’t like the phrase “Sola Scriptura” because it came out of the Reformation which, in my estimation ended badly.

    That’s fine and I respect your choice. Personally, I would rather be called a “dissenter”. On the doctrinal side: most of main-line Protestantism practices paedo-baptism which in my estimation is a form of baptismal regeneration in disguise.

    On the practical aspect, I want to be identified with the martydom side of Church history.

    The Church of England (Protestant) had their own bloodbath of killing Christians.

    Not that dissenters never shed blood, but for the most part it was in self defense such as the Vaudois of the Piedmont Valley or the Huguenots of the Bartholomew Day massacre in which many defended themselves against the slaughter.

    HankD
     
  6. Taufgesinnter

    Taufgesinnter
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    Messages:
    1,135
    Likes Received:
    0
    The English Baptists are traced through the Protestant Reformation in England, although they appeared in the 17th century when that Reformation was already over, but did get influenced by Radical Reformation ideas through contact with Dutch Anabaptists. Both the Protestant Reformation and the Radical Reformation were 16th-century phenomena, and while Baptists' pedigree in America is somewhat problematic, any who came out of the Protestant Reformation are obviously Protestants, whereas those who came out of the Radical Reformation are not.
     

Share This Page

Loading...