The God We Want to See

There are many who hold to the mantra of the reformation, sola scriptura (Scripture alone), but also insist that “one specific” translation of the Bible is a prerequisite to one’s faith and spiritual well-being - God’s only authorized version.

How can it be suggested that a specific translation is alone “God ordained” if one sincerely holds to "Scripture alone"? In order to make the argument of God’s choice of translation being made manifest to man, post-biblical revelation is the only option due to the fact that the Bible (regardless of translation) says nothing of the sort. It also implies that not only is Christianity text-centric, but God is as well. 

The only argument that can be made is entirely outside of Scripture. Hence, the staunchly held belief is not based on Scripture alone, but rather opinion.

They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion." Thomas Hobbes

Translation onlyists need to take a little stroll down the textual and manuscript history path. Those who cling earnestly to this mistaken paradigm for a "biblical worldview" seem to be ignorant regarding the logical fallacy of attempting to authenticate a book by quoting from it (done almost exclusively in an anachronistic way). It would be like me quoting myself as proof for why I am correct.

It does not take an experienced historian to make the observation that God is not a patriotic American affiliated with a certain denomination or demographic. He does not have a political designation (save the theocratic party) or a fascination with the English language. He is not a KJV onlyist and certainly does not dislike all the people we do. Re-think what it means to create god in our image and after our likeness.

"Is the inspired Bible the one that we actually use? The King James Version? Some people continue to insist so, even if it does seem to be a rather silly view: do you mean that for all those centuries before the King James translators got to work, Christians did not have access to God’s inspired word? What was God thinking? Some other modern translation then? The Hebrew and Greek texts from which these English translations are made? If one chooses the last option, what does one do about the fact that we don’t have the original Hebrew and Greek texts of any of the books of the Bible, but only later copies of these texts, all of which have mistakes?" 

Bart Ehrman, Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them) (2009 Harper Collins), 182.


Virgil Maro said...

While I join you in the condemnation of the KJV Only crowd, the statement "attempting to authenticate a book by quoting from it" is not in and of itself a logical fallacy. All systems of thought that are internally consistent must make a circle. If it doesn't it's not a person's ultimate authority. In other words, one can authenticate X by quoting X, when X is his presupposition. One can stand on the hill while defending the hill. - You, presumably, are not your ultimate authority, which is why you'd be commiting a fallacious argument when quoting yourself for proof as to why you are correct. - Also, apart from the Bible it is not possible to give a logically consistent reason for uniform, abstract concepts, such as laws of logic. These only make sense inside a Biblical worldview.

S. Edwin Rufener said...

Thanks for the comment. I am not a philosopher, so perhaps the words "logical fallacy" were not the best choice to describe what I was attempting to communicate, maybe "circular reasoning" is better suited. The post was more directed toward textual onlyism and biblical authority on those grounds rather than biblical authority in general. I subscribe to biblical authority and was not intending to convey a disregard for it. In the "onlyist" camps, texts are extracted as "proofs" for why a certain translation is the only trustworthy source of the "word of God." This, in my estimation, has numerous difficulties.