“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. “ (I Peter 1:20-25)
In earlier posts, we’ve often discussed the doctrine of the Preservation of God’s word – of the specific written words. And we’ve talked about how Inspiration and Preservation are absolutely inseparable.
Because God would not go to all the trouble to divinely breathe out His perfect words to men and then allow those same words to somehow disappear from the earth. Or to suffer corruption in any way. Not leaving them to disappear due to the fallibility of men.
This would consign men to seek for God’s lost truth. Struggling, over the millennia, to locate and piece together some nebulous, vague text; and then, if some supposedly genuine text was found, to arrogantly call it “the Word of God”.
And then demand that men keep and follow every word God has commanded.
That would be a ridiculous thing for anyone to demand. To actually require belief in the inerrancy of such uncertain words. Words that God was supposedly unable to preserve; but which religious scholars were able to recover due to their great wisdom, intellect, and devotion.
Recovery or Preservation?
Whom does that thinking glorify?
That view glorifies men. Those heroic scholars who stepped in to find and recover what God could not preserve on His own.
That is an absolutely false concept. Which has no biblical foundation.
The Lord would never allow His words, each of them being vital to the spiritual health of the believer, to remain in some uncertain state. Words which would then be dependent on special scholars to endlessly search out, identify, and then confirm to the church. Telling us which words were true and which were not.
The Lord would have Preserved every word from generation to generation. Just as He promised He would do in both the Old and New Testaments. Preserving them to the fullest extent of His ability.
A Big Mess
But what we have today is a chaotic mess that can be traced back to a philosophy called Critical Theory or Higher Criticism.
This worldly philosophy is based on an improper view of God’s Word. A view that treats the Bible like any other book. And regards preservation and translation in a common way. Treating God’s word like any other written document which has passed down through history.
Because this Higher Criticism, from which the Lower Criticism (popular among Evangelicals and some Fundamentalists) is derived, is a theory born of worldly intellect. It is not based on biblical principles or biblical promises. It is based on lost men, even religious lost men, thinking they can create a new Bible that is more compatible to the nature of man.
The problem is, the Word of God is a supernatural book. The same “preservation” rules do not apply to God’s texts.
The Bible was created by God in a miraculous way. And then sovereignly protected by God through the creation of perfect copies – a copying process that started from the original autographs and has continued down to the present-day texts in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.
Popular textual theory pivots around a basic belief or disbelief in perfect preservation. Everything we learn of and apply to texts of the Bible is governed by this key point of spiritual belief.
Back to the Middle Ages
One incredible misconception that drives a great deal of this thinking has to do with the preservation of true believers during the Middle Ages. Believers whose “underground” existence is directly linked to the survival of the Preserved Texts during the Catholic Inquisitions.
It is important to understand that the Roman Catholic Church has never represented biblical belief. Nor did has it ever possessed biblical authority. Nor has it ever preached the true gospel of Christ.
We can each give thanks for many good things we have seen in the lives of those who are Catholics. We can praise them for their morality, their good citizenship, their patriotism, their hard-work ethic, and many other good things. But Catholicism does not preach the gospel. And its teachings cannot save those who carefully follow its doctrines.
And, as difficult as it is for Evangelicals to accepts this obvious fact, the true church has always existed through the centuries; even while religious tyrannical systems moved in and out of power. The Protestant Reformation, as beneficial as it was for bringing biblical truth out into the open, did not re-establish the church. Nor did it recover the Bible.
The church has always existed in small pockets of believers. And it has always existed, with Preserved copies of the Bible; even as the Catholic Church tortured and burned-at-the-stake those who were discovered in possession of such copies.
What Caused the Rejection of the Preserved Texts?
What is significant about this is the folly of using the Catholic Church archives as a source of truth. As if they were the keepers of the word of God. Scholars are foolish if they give those Archives legitimacy as the pure source of biblical manuscripts. Or, in some way, backing up the popular texts.
But this is what happens when we are given assurance that the Latin Vulgate, or Codex Vaticanus, or Codex Sinaiticus, or some other manuscript coming from Roman Catholic sources that backs up the Westcott and Hort texts. Which was a hybrid corruption thrust upon the world in the late 1890s.
Which was done so that the Textus Receptus and the Masoretic Text would be cast aside.
All of this errant thinking gives honor and legitimacy to the Catholic Church and its scholarship.
As if the Lord ever needed that false-gospel system, or any other system, to protect His words. As if He did not protect His word in pockets of faithful believers all over Europe during that terrible age of darkness.
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