Francis Turretin, Scriptural Preservation Without Error

David Burchard Doctrine, Quotable Quotes Leave a Comment

VII. (2) Unless unimpaired integrity is attributed to Scripture, it cannot be regarded as the sole rule of faith and practice, and a wide door is opened to atheists, libertines, enthusiasts, and others of that sort of profane people to undermine its authority and overthrow the foundation of salvation. Since error cannot be part of the faith, how can a Scripture which is weakened by contradictions and corruptions be regarded as authentic and divine? Nor should it be said that these corruptions are only in matters of little significance, which do not affect the fundamentals of the faith. For as soon as the authenticity of Scripture has been found wanting, even if it be a single corruption [of the text] that cannot be corrected, how can our faith any longer be sustained? If corruption is conceded in matters of little importance, why not also in others of more significance? Who will be able to give me faith that there has been no forgetfulness or deceit in the fundamental passages? What answer can be given the subtle ‘atheist or heretic who persistently claims that this or that text, unfavorable to him, rests on falsehood? The reply should not be that divine providence has willed the [Scripture] be preserved from serious corruptions, but not from minor ones. For not only is this an arbitrary assumption, but it also cannot be made without grave insult [to Scripture], implying that it lacks something necessary for its full self-authentication, nor can it easily be believed that God, who spoke and inspired every single word to God-inspired men, would not have provided for the preservation of all. If human beings preserve their words with the greatest care so that they will not be changed or corrupted, especially when–as is the case, for instance, with wills and contracts–they are of some importance, how much more should God be thought to have taken care for his Word, which he willed to have the status of testament and public notice of his covenant with us, so that nothing could corrupt it, especially when he could have easily foreseen and prevented such corruptions, to uphold the faith of his church?

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