An Inadequate View of God's Providence Regarding Manuscripts of the NT

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
I was thinking about God’s providence, and wondering, is there any other area of life (besides this form of CB) where Reformed believers make dogmatic statements regarding their interpretation of God’s providence to the exclusion of other interpretations?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I was pondering the other day if the Historicist approach to The Revelation of John in having to find what in history fullfilled different places was similar to treating history w.r.t. providential preservation, at least broadly?
I was thinking about God’s providence, and wondering, is there any other area of life (besides this form of CB) where Reformed believers make dogmatic statements regarding their interpretation of God’s providence to the exclusion of other interpretations?
 

NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
I was thinking about God’s providence, and wondering, is there any other area of life (besides this form of CB) where Reformed believers make dogmatic statements regarding their interpretation of God’s providence to the exclusion of other interpretations?
Our belief in the Protestant canon has some significant parallels.
 

Imputatio

Puritan Board Freshman
Our belief in the Protestant canon has some significant parallels.
I should have said “…to the exclusion of other, widely held, orthodox interpretations of providence.”

There isn’t an alternative view of the Canon widely held by Reformed believers.

I’m looking for other idiosyncratic (as I see them) views of providence.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Those from the Free Church tradition ought to consider William Cunningham's position on the subject.

Coming indeed from the Free Church condition I've been curious about this so searched around a bit and came across this paper. Wanted to quote a couple of paragraphs:

"It is only a little surprising, therefore, that Cunningham had
misgivings about “lower” criticism as well as “higher” criticism.
The mere settlement of the text, “the decision of all questions
about the reading for the purpose of exhibiting the sacred text as
nearly as possible as it came from the hands of its original
authors”, as he described the “lower”, was for him important, but
only insofar as it paved the way for interpretation. What mattered
was “the investigation of the sense and meaning” of Scripture’s
statements, that is, hermeneutics or exegesis . 49 His belief that
every word of Scripture had been given by God should not be
taken, then, as an ultimate concern even for the purity of the text.
A lot of the work done in trying to ascertain it, he felt, was
insignificant . 50 Although he believed it was “necessary and
imperative that ministers should acquire some knowledge of the
leading points involved in it”, he also believed that the subject was
“not one of very great practical importance, so far as concerns the
actual discovery of the mind and will of God from his word ”. 5 1

"Cunningham fits least tidily into the thesis that the views of the
Free Church Fathers embody a kind of embryonic criticism. What
he shared with the critics was a conviction that every passage in the
Bible ought to be analysed with the utmost care; but he covered this
with an equally firm conviction that the results of such analysis
could not be inconsistent with “the general scheme of truth taught
in the Bible ”. 52 He was unequivocally opposed to criticism as he
understood it. He described it as carried on by German writers,
“some of whom have brought to this work a large amount of
learning, accompanied generally with a miserable lack of common
sense and sound logic. ” And in what he labelled “the thorough and daring infidelity of German rationalists”, he nearly
paraphrased the views for which George Adam Smith was impeached less than sixty years later."

Perhaps he fits least tidily into the thesis but perhaps he still fits (first sentence second paragraph).

One can certainly argue against a link between Mr. Cunningham's acquiescence to the textual criticism being carried on in his day and a George Adam Smith arising in the FCoS a few decades later. Smith was at least censured I think, and he left the Free Church for another denomination. But I'm just saying his views wouldn't have dared been spoken aloud in earlier times.

I see from my reading that Mr. Cunningham was a staunch defender of the Scripture and is much to be appreciated.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Coming indeed from the Free Church condition I've been curious about this so searched around a bit and came across this paper. Wanted to quote a couple of paragraphs:

It is great that they have made the back issues of the Records of the Scottish Church History Society for free online. (The journal is now called Scottish Church History, published by Edinburgh University Press.)
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
Coming indeed from the Free Church condition I've been curious about this so searched around a bit and came across this paper. Wanted to quote a couple of paragraphs:

"It is only a little surprising, therefore, that Cunningham had
misgivings about “lower” criticism as well as “higher” criticism.
The mere settlement of the text, “the decision of all questions
about the reading for the purpose of exhibiting the sacred text as
nearly as possible as it came from the hands of its original
authors”, as he described the “lower”, was for him important, but
only insofar as it paved the way for interpretation. What mattered
was “the investigation of the sense and meaning” of Scripture’s
statements, that is, hermeneutics or exegesis . 49 His belief that
every word of Scripture had been given by God should not be
taken, then, as an ultimate concern even for the purity of the text.
A lot of the work done in trying to ascertain it, he felt, was
insignificant . 50 Although he believed it was “necessary and
imperative that ministers should acquire some knowledge of the
leading points involved in it”, he also believed that the subject was
“not one of very great practical importance, so far as concerns the
actual discovery of the mind and will of God from his word ”. 5 1

"Cunningham fits least tidily into the thesis that the views of the
Free Church Fathers embody a kind of embryonic criticism. What
he shared with the critics was a conviction that every passage in the
Bible ought to be analysed with the utmost care; but he covered this
with an equally firm conviction that the results of such analysis
could not be inconsistent with “the general scheme of truth taught
in the Bible ”. 52 He was unequivocally opposed to criticism as he
understood it. He described it as carried on by German writers,
“some of whom have brought to this work a large amount of
learning, accompanied generally with a miserable lack of common
sense and sound logic. ” And in what he labelled “the thorough and daring infidelity of German rationalists”, he nearly
paraphrased the views for which George Adam Smith was impeached less than sixty years later."

Perhaps he fits least tidily into the thesis but perhaps he still fits (first sentence second paragraph).

One can certainly argue against a link between Mr. Cunningham's acquiescence to the textual criticism being carried on in his day and a George Adam Smith arising in the FCoS a few decades later. Smith was at least censured I think, and he left the Free Church for another denomination. But I'm just saying his views wouldn't have dared been spoken aloud in earlier times.

I see from my reading that Mr. Cunningham was a staunch defender of the Scripture and is much to be appreciated.
Jeri,
If you had continued the quote you wuld have seen the author's conclusion:
"His (Cunningham's) is perhaps the tightest defence of inspiration of any of the Free Church Fathers."

That hardly suggests that Cunningham was part of the downgrade that only really took off after his death. In fact, his views are the natural precursor to Old Princeton and men like B.B. Warfield, who was no friend of Higher Criticism.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Jeri,
If you had continued the quote you wuld have seen the author's conclusion:
"His (Cunningham's) is perhaps the tightest defence of inspiration of any of the Free Church Fathers."

That hardly suggests that Cunningham was part of the downgrade that only really took off after his death. In fact, his views are the natural precursor to Old Princeton and men like B.B. Warfield, who was no friend of Higher Criticism.

Right, I see that he certainly was a staunch defender of inspiration and he himself was obviously not on a downgrade.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I want to recommend the 7 videos of the Textual Confidence Collective on youtube. They are so, so good, and so, so knowledgeable. Here is the first one:
 
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