Bible believing pastors who have accepted the critical approach to the text live with a cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, there is the Bible’s own self-witness to its PRESENT infallibility and immutability. On the other, there is the endless regress of textual criticism.
Unable to reconcile the two, most ministers accept BOTH and practically treat the dissonance in the same way we treat genuine mysteries of the faith such as the hypostatic union. They see no need to bother themselves with reconciling the problem. This apathy presents a bigger problem than the initial problem. The problem I refer to is the ultimate loss of Biblical authority itself.
When speaking of the subject of identifying the text of Scripture, we are not dealing with a divine mystery too great to be reconciled within the finite mind of man. Rather, we are dealing with the very text wherein God condescended to make Himself known to us by way of covenant. The Scriptures are a product of God’s condescension to make Himself known to us.
If we say the content of Scripture is ultimately a thing of divine mystery unknown to us, we commit a teleological error. For revelation is the very purpose of Scripture. The end of the endless regress of textual criticism is the loss of the very idea of Scripture.
This is one of the many reasons I receive the Received Text of the Protestant Reformation as canonical. Those who sit under my preaching need not concern themselves with the question of what text it is that I will be preaching as theópneustos (God-breathed). I believe in the Received Text because it is received. In this, I share the same approach to text as did Christ and the apostles in their day.