People often say that "no major doctrines are affected" by the differences between the received text and the Alexandrian manuscripts. Of course, these are weasel words, since it is impossible to pin down a definition of exactly what "major doctrines" are or what "affecting" them would be. But the fact is that there is one doctrine that is always overlooked: the doctrine of preservation. Regardless of what verses are corrupted, this doctrine is certainly affected.
Is this a major doctrine? It is fundamental to the trustworthiness of scripture itself, and it is repeated in dozens of verses. If that isn't major, what is?
What will be preserved? #
And what is this doctrine of preservation? The Bible does not teach that just the major doctrines of scripture will be preserved, but that all of the words of the LORD will be preserved to every generation:
Isaiah 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
God's words, once revealed to his people, will never depart out of their mouths. Not just his most important doctrines, but his very words, even the least of them. Not one jot or tittle shall pass away.
So if only the major doctrines have been preserved, hasn't this major doctrine, this promise of preservation, been broken?
No room for compromise #
Put another way, let us accept the premise for a moment. Let us assume that the Bible isn't perfectly preserved, but that "no major doctrines are affected." If this is so, we are forced to conclude that these verses on preservation are accurate to what the text was inspired to say. Thus, we must still be lead to believe that the Bible is perfectly preserved as these verses teach.
There is really no room for a "soft-preservation" or "faux preservation" position, because assuming that the Bible is accurate, and this major doctrine is not affected, then the Bible originally taught that scripture is perfectly preserved.
Thus, you can either believe that the Bible is perfectly preserved, or that major doctrines such as this one have been affected. There is no middle ground, no in-between, no room for compromise. Either God has perfectly preserved his word, or it cannot be trusted even on the most vital of points.
Why then would we doubt, and not believe God's promise?
1 Peter 1:23-25 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
If we have been born again by the word, then let us rejoice that it is incorruptible but liveth and abideth forever.