Beyond The “Plastic Text”: The Plot Thickens -- By: John Warwick Montgomery
Beyond The “Plastic Text”: The Plot Thickens
John Warwick Montgomery is Emeritus Professor of Law and Humanities, University of Bedfordshire, England; Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy, Concordia University Wisconsin; Director, International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism & Human Rights, Strasbourg, France (www.apologeticsacademy.eu). Ph.D., Chicago; D.Théol., Strasbourg; LL.D., Cardiff; Dr. [h.c.], Institute for Religion and Law, Moscow. Barrister-at-Law (England and Wales), Avocat à la Cour (Paris), Member of the California, District of Columbia, Virginia, Washington State, and U.S. Supreme Court bars. Dr. Montgomery’s legal specialty is the international and comparative law of human rights and he regularly pleads religious freedom cases before the European Court of Human Rights. He is a U.S. and U.K. citizen, the author of some fifty books in five languages (www.newreformationpress.com), and is included in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in France, the European Biographical Directory, Who’s Who in the World, and Contemporary Authors.
Abstract: A new approach to textual criticism is being advocated by a New Testament professor at the Concordia Seminary, St Louis, one of the two theological centers for the training of pastors in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). It is the conviction of the present essayist that this approach amounts to the destruction of the denomination’s commitment to scriptural inerrancy; returns biblical scholarship to the subjectivism of the higher criticism; and, if pursued, could cause that conservative church body to face again the theological difficulties that came close to destroying the LCMS in the Seminex controversy of the 1970’s.
Readers may well recall my critique of Jeffrey Kloha’s “plastic text” essay.1 I have learned (unofficially) that church authorities have met with Dr. Kloha, that he admitted to no doctrinal problems, that the authorities agreed, but that a revised version of his essay was to be prepared. Almost a year has passed, but that revised version—if in fact prepared—does not seem to have been made available to the general or to the scholarly public.
The seriousness of the issues involved for the historic doctrine of the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures therefore requires additional, though brief, examination of Dr. Kloha’s biblical orientation. This will focus on his contribution to the Festschrift for his mentor, Professor J. Keith Elliott,2 with additional comments on Kloha’s “plastic text” essay and a reaction to his paper entitled “The Authority of the Scriptures,” delivered at the 2010 Concordia Seminary St. Louis sym...
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