“The Young, Textless, and Reformed” is a clever title crafted by Dr. Jeff Riddle, pastor of Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Louisa, Virginia. The title describes a young generation of Calvinists that were brought up in the environment of modern textual criticism, myself included. This generation is one of the first who did not grow up believing the woman caught in adultery is Scripture, and only know the dogmas of the modern critical text position. They are one of the first generations with a heavily changing text of the Bible.
This era of new Calvinists found their way to Reformed Theology by way of John MacArthur, John Piper, Mark Dever, RC Sproul and many more. These are teachers that have sparked a younger generation to travel down the old paths, back to the Puritans and confessional Christianity. Many of these young Calvinists have become disenchanted with the uncertainty of modern translations. Many of them have realized, and are realizing that a changing text is no text at all.
Despite the fluid nature of modern textual criticism, Christians are told that they can have confidence in their Bible, knowing that the scientists and scholars working on it will change it every five years. The best text that scholars have to offer is a text that is undecided and bipolar. This is allegedly the most faithful and defensible position on the text of Scripture.
Many Christians have already asked important questions that need to be answered regarding the modern critical text. If the Bible is liable to change, what does that mean for the doctrine of preservation? If Christians knew that the scholars crafting the New Testament didn’t believe they could find the original, would that change their mind on what they think of modern textual criticism? With this kind of information, the discerning Christian might come to the conclusion that an amorphous Bible is no Bible at all.
In this blog, I will examine the modern standards for textual criticism that are responsible for the footnotes, brackets, and new Bibles every five years, in contrast to the method that has been used since the Reformation by faithful theologians and scholars to receive what God has preserved as His Word. The posts will be polemic with the aim of showing people that the modern methodologies are not the answer.