Archive for the ‘Matt Slick’ Category

Dichotomies and Options

February 25, 2016

Apparently some atheists with whom Matt Slick deals have been accusing him of presenting a false dichotomy. He’s not. Let me explain.

Matt has correctly identified the following as a dichotomy:

1) It is the case that God created the universe; or
2) It is not the case that God created the universe.

Matt has pointed out that if either of those statements is false, then the other is true.

The atheists have objected based on the fact that there are several possible ways by which (2) may be true, while (1) is false. For example:

(a) statement (1) is false if something other than God created the universe;
— (a)(i) statement (1) is false if Odin created the universe;
— (a)(ii) statement (1) is false if Zeus created the universe;
— (a)(iii) statement (1) is false if Krishna created the universe;
— (a)(iv) statement (1) is false if Allah created the universe;
(b) statement (1) is false if the universe is uncreated; and
(c) statement (1) is false if there is no universe.

While it’s true that there are (logically speaking) these various options, it does not follow that the dichotomy is not a true dichotomy.

Where the atheists would have a point is against the case where Matt demonstrated that (c) is false, and consequently affirmed that (1) is true. That would be a fallacious way of arguing – but that’s not what Matt does. Similarly, Matt doesn’t simply demonstrate that (a)(ii) is false, and consequently affirm that (1) is true. Instead, Matt demonstrates that (2) is false and consequently affirms that (1) is true.

In other words, the dichotomy is:

1) It is true that all of A, B, and C are true; or
2) It is not true that all of A, B, and C are true.

But it is still a dichotomy, and Matt’s argument is valid so long as he doesn’t simply jump from A is true, therefore 1 is true.



Matt Slick Errs on Textual Transmission / Textual Criticism Again

April 13, 2015

Matt Slick has again (The Bible Thumping Wingnut, Episode 61, around 30 minutes into the episode) erred on the topic of textual criticism.

Unfortunately, Mr. Slick seems to be confused about the transmission of the New Testament compared to the translation of the Old Testament. His comment about adding up numbers seems to be based on something Mr. Slick has heard about the process used by the Masoretes (and it doesn’t even appear to be accurate regarding their process). It does not describe the Christian process, especially not in the early Christian period. Early Christian textual transmission was, as far as we know, not done by professional scribes and did not include letter-counting techniques (such as those later used by the Masoretes) to ensure the reliability of the copies. These facts don’t undermine the reliability of the New Testament text, but making errors in this area may undermine the other valid points that Mr. Slick is trying to offer.

Additionally, Mr. Slick repeated the same error regarding how textual variants are counted (which we already corrected here).

It’s great that Mr. Slick is going to be debating a Muslim on the divinity of Jesus soon, but it seems likely that these issues of textual transmission will crop up in apologetics with Muslims (as they frequently do), and it would be good for one of Mr. Slick’s friends to help get him straight on these issues before then.

*** Updated 4/13/2015

By the way, Mr. Slick should probably update his own web pages once he realizes his mistake. This same repeated error about how to count variants appears on at least the following pages of :

That same page also claims “Furthermore, the New Testament is approximately 99.5% textually pure. This means that of all the manuscripts in existence they agree completely 99.5% of the time.” That’s also not the case.

This page claims “The copies are so accurate that all of the biblical documents are 98.5% textually pure.” Even if Mr. Slick decides he has some insight into textual transmission, he should presumably harmonize his own pages.

This page also claims (similar to Mr. Slick’s comments on the show): “Similarly, the Greek writers of the New Testament would copy the biblical manuscripts. By default, every letter also has a numeric value. When the copies were done, the copyists would add up the numeric values of the words copied and compare them to the original copy. If there was an error, the copy was destroyed and a new one was begun. This was done with both the Hebrew and Greek writings of the Bible. Therefore, the Bible was copied with extreme care.” That’s not an accurate depiction of the New Testament transmission. It seems to be taken from some information regarding the extreme care the Masoretes took in copying the Old Testament, but even then it’s not quite right.

The page also mentions the accuracy of the Isaiah scroll in the Dead Sea scrolls compared to the Masoretic text. It’s true that the texts were very close. Not all the scrolls share that same closeness, however, especially in Jeremiah. So, it might be good to provide some additional information and caveats regarding the reliability of the Masoretic textual transmission.

Variants and Matt Slick

April 2, 2015

I’m listening through a variety of episodes of the “Bible Thumping Wingnut.” Despite the very low quality stuff on theonomy in a few of the recent episodes (I don’t see the point to correct these errors – there are plenty of other folks doing that and being ignored), there are some good discussions on a variety of topics, particularly when Matt Slick addresses atheists/agnostics. However, in Episode 44, when asked about textual variants, our brother Matt dropped the ball, so I want to take the opportunity to correct this point.

Matt took the position that if an article (a word meaning “the”) is dropped in a copy, and then that typo is copied by five further scribes in their respective copies, that’s six variants. Matt’s not right – that’s not how it works. That would be a variant with six witnesses.

The reason the number of variants is so high is because of the large number of hand copies, but not because each copy of each typo is counted as a variant. Instead, it’s because there are numerous possible misspellings for many words, particular for words with a “movable nu” (similar to the difference between “a” and “an” in English) and numerous variants in the order of words.

In any event, to answer the bigger question about whether we can know what the original was, there are tools for reconstructing the original text from copies containing variants. While there are a few different ways of doing this, they all yield substantially the same text at most points. (see Dr. White’s excellent discussion here).


Circumcision Ended Without Scripture?

July 15, 2010

In the discussion between Matt Slick and Robert Sungenis, Dr. Sungenis made the following comment:

In Acts chapter 15, where the debate over circumcision arises. And Peter stands up and says, “We’re no longer going to practice circumcision.” And he had no Scriptural precedent to do so.

(see 53:51 in this mp3 recording of Dr. White’s partial review of the discussion)

Dr. White provided some responses (as you will hear in the mp3), but I’d like to provide six of my own:

  1. The debate in Acts 15 was really a debate over sola fide, which the Judaizers opposed, claiming that circumcision was necessary for salvation. Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. Compare Acts 15:8-9 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

  2. Peter stood up, but what he stood up to do was to argue for faith alone and against the burden of circumcision: Acts 15:7-11 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

  3. Peter’s comment was not the announcement of a decision. The decision was pronounced by James. Acts 15:13 & 19 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: … Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: … And then by all the church at Jerusalem, not just the apostles and elders. Acts 15:22-23 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: … .

  4. The decision of the council was specifically directed to Gentile converts, not to Jews. (see the verses in the previous bullets) It was not actually a call to end circumcision, just a recognition that circumcision is not necessary for salvation. Jews continued to be circumcised. Act 16:1-3 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
  5. Peter’s argument itself refers to his experience with Gentiles such as Cornelius. That experience is recorded in Scripture, whether or not an as-yet-incomplete book of Acts had been written. So, the precedent on which Peter relied is in Scripture, although it may not yet have been in Scripture at that time.
  6. The decision of the church of Jerusalem, however, was based on Scriptural precedent. Specifically, as James explains it we can see the Scriptural precedent, I’ll provide cross-references in brackets. Acts 15:15-18 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: [Amos 9:11] that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, [cf. Hosea 3:5] and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. [Amos 9:12] Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. [cf. Isaiah 46:10]

So, for at least these reasons, I would have to respectfully disagree with Dr. Sungenis’ argument.


Judged According to Works?

February 11, 2008

Dave Armstrong has a new post (at least it seems to be new, perhaps it is just an old post he has redated) of Scriptural pretexting (I’d say prooftexting, but Dave is not an advocate of Sola Scriptura) for the idea that “Final Judgment” will be on the basis of works and not faith.

In some ways it is an interesting post. You see, he analyzes thirty (count ’em) passages to arrive at the conclusion that Scripture “always” associate works and Final Judgment, never faith and final judgment.

It would be a sufficient rebuttal simply to quote:

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

But we should go further, because Dave has asked a slightly different question than the justification question. In the process, though, he has stumbled about a bit, striking out a doctrines that are not representative of the Christian position that he openly opposes (calling it names, like “anti-Catholicism,” on many of his web pages). Here Dave is picking on a professing Christian, Matt Slick, whose views about salvation are succinctly put here (link). He has not addressed Matt’s views, nor the views of Christians generally.

You see, it seems that Dave has misunderstood the Christian position. The Christian position is that Christ is our substitute. Thus, we too will be judged on the last day according to works. But it will not be according to our own works, but according to His works. We will be clothed with Christ’s righteousness (Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:). Thus, we will be counted as righteousness because of Christ’s righteousness.

Thus, when Dave sets out to prove that we will not be judged according to our faith, he’s partly right. That’s not the basis of judgment. The basis of judgment is righteousness. Anyone who lacks the substitutionary atonement of Christ will perish for their sins, however small they are, for the wages of sin is death, but eternal life is a gift. It is not earned, but given.

Those who seek justification by works, need to be very afraid, because their works will not be enough. It would be nice to comfort such people, telling them that if they call Jesus, Lord, they are ok. It would be nice, if it were true.

Sadly, it is not. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:21-23
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Christ is the escape. If you will be saved, repent of your sins and trust in Him alone for salvation. Your works will only condemn you, but Christ has offered a perfect sacrifice for sins!

Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Yes, the final judgment will be on the basis of works, not on the basis of “Faith alone.” Men will be judged according to their works, and it would be a defense to judgment to truthfully say that one is righteous. But you have to be more perfectly righteous than Paul the Apostle to merit salvation:

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Furthermore, when it comes to the end of the day, if your testimony before God is, “I have no sin,” you are liar.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Therefore, your only hope is to have a righteous man stand in your place. There is only one person who can do that, for there is only one perfect man, the God-man Jesus Christ. If you appropriate his righteousness by faith in Him alone, you will be saved.


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