A Reply to Mitchell Regarding King James Onlyism

This post is made in response to Mitchell’s comment he left here yesterday. Due to its length, and to allow focused conversation on his points rather than the entire subject of King James Onlyism, I decided to make this a new post rather than another comment. I should point out that I feel Mitchell fails the King James Only Challenge with this response, as he did not defend his point from the King James Version alone, which a belief in both King James Onlyism & Sola Scriptura would require.

(This was written in repsonse [sic] to some other hacks a while back who don’t believe what the Bible says about itself, so some references to other folks can be ignored, the gist of it though stands)

I normally dislike replying to copy/pasted arguments. It’s difficult for "iron to sharpen iron" when one party involved chooses an impersonal approach, which I know all to well from having committed the same at various times in the past. I regret that such methodology usually serves more to foster division rather than unity, disagreement rather than discussion. I didn’t come to the conclusion that King James Onlyism is unscriptural by succumbing to an influx of canned arguments; it was through brethren with a heart for teaching & individual attention that the Holy Spirit worked in enabling me to break down a stronghold in my heart.

Today we have a new "trick" being put out by the parroting Alexandrian Cult that says, since there is no verse that says the KJB is the preserved inerrant word of God that any believer that holds to such a tenant is actually teaching heresy, adding to the word of God, and misinformed. I could just as easily say, show me one verse that uses the word "cat" in any Bible in any language, and thereby conclude that since you can’t, a "cat" is a heresy. Brethren, the logic is fouled, it is humanism and it is a sloppy approach to the word of God and of course, a by product of a faithless mind.

Wait, what? So if I believe that one shouldn’t create doctrines that aren’t taught in the Scriptures, I also must repent of eating the pizza I just had, for it too wasn’t mentioned in the Scriptures? Since when did incidentals like meals and, as you mention, cats get elevated to the level of doctrines that must be tried & proved by the Holy Bible?

Could someone let me know if I should be insulted by the "Alexandrian Cult" remark? I mean, Alexandria is the hometown of Apollos, a man "mighty in the Scriptures" if there ever was one (Acts 18:24)! I’m assuming that "Alexandrian Cult" is used in contrast to Antioch, which was home to Jews known for stoning Paul (Acts 14:29).:”(If you are unfamiliar with King James Only writings, modern versions of the Bible are often railed against because two primary manuscripts upon which they were based are from the Alexandrian family of extant texts; the King James Version is based upon Antiochian texts. This distinction is focused upon by King James Onlyists by looking for bad marks against Alexandria and good marks for Antioch within the Scriptures. I hope you are intelligent enough to realize the folly of that methodology, for the Scriptures are not "all for" Antioch by any means. Indeed, while Antioch was in desperate need of people preaching there — it was full of men who persecuted believers, railing against them with the then-derogatory term "Christians" — Alexandria produced not only a man mighty in the Scriptures, but also ships for the apostles’ travels. Second Timothy 3:11 even contains a ringing endorsement of Antioch.)”:

As for "parroting" others regarding King James Onlyism, my source material when studying that particular -ism is most often King James Onlyist writings themselves, particularly the material available through such websites as Terry Watkins’, David Cloud’s, and Jack Chick’s, among others. There’s typically plenty of reason to reject King James Onlyism to be found within their own writings to make studying the counter-positions informative.

And the fact that, given two Bibles (say, the King James Version and the New King James Version), an ignorance of King James Onlyism, and seclusion from others on an island, I doubt very much that anyone would ever glean from the Scriptures that the King James Version is perfect while the New King James Version is garbage. I have no doubt at all that all of the orthodox Christian doctrines would be able to be arrived at, and I wonder why if the Scriptures are so sufficient, something as important as a version onlyism isn’t taught?

Now, no Greek knowledge is needed, neither is a course in Hebrew, manuscript evidences, or any reading of Dr. Ruckman, or Doug Kutilek to try and advance some idea that hasn’t been thought of before. Listen, brethren, scholarship will not solve the problem. Both men mentioned above in their own rights have earned doctorates, written books, can both teach NT Greek at any college in the world and be found on par of any other professor there, they can both convince others that they are both right. So why aren’t they in agreement then? Points of view I suppose. But I am not subject, nor do I have to be subject to any point of view of any man. Be he a parroting prattling fool of either camp. You really need to get a hold of that.

I have never read a word of Ruckman’s writings, nor do I even know the name Doug Kutilek. Gobs of irrelevancy — that’s what passing off copying/pasting as conversation gets ya.

I am going to use some "valid versions" of the Bible to show that even by their own statements, their own translations, they all agree with what the word of God is. Then, accordingly I will demonstrate that by their own testimony they disqualify themselves from being called "the word of God".

[snip]

So we are coming to some conclusions based upon what the Bible itself it is;

1. Pure.
2. Eternal.
3. True.
4. Correct.

Now, let’s just stop there for a moment. I am trying to speak real slowly as if I am talking to kids, because the majority of Bible critics that I have talked to in my days are about as dumb as rocks when it comes to believing what they actually teach. They say a lot, they talk a lot, they quote a lot of sources, but rarely do they ever apply their own rhetoric to their own beliefs. I’ll prove it.

And then some of them don’t even take the time to reply to those with questions or challenges; they just copy & paste a whole spiel. Oh wait…

So I am going along reading the word of God. And I have read over and again that there are some qualifying statements that the Bible makes about itself that no other book makes about itself. That alone puts the Bible in a different class of books that is entirely different from any other text. The Bible tells me that I can ascertain the word of God by looking to at least 4 qualifiers that God has given us to make sure we are not getting duped.

My Bible says it is PURE.
My Bible says it is ETERNAL.
My Bible says it is TRUE.
My Bible says it is CORRECT.

Actually, I wouldn’t be so sure that no other book contains those same assertions. You’re giving man way too much credit if you think he’s never tried that, I think.

The word of God in every place that claims to be the word of God says that it is true. That is simple enough. The minute I find an untruth in something that claims to be the word of God, I can with all assuredness discard that Bible as being an example of the word of God.

I disagree with you there; such an assertion would require perfection not only in transmission, but also translation (a degree of perfection not promised by any version of the Bible, including the King James Version). There is also a glaring difference between intentional translation corruption, such as the New World Translation’s "in the beginning was the Word and the Word was a god" (John 1:1), and translations errors due to insufficiencies in our knowledge of the original language or in finding a suitable construction in English.

I can already hear some of you children salivating, going over the so called "errors" of the KJB. You’ve already written your dissertation on why according to my own conclusion I am forced to discard the KJB as a Bible.

Now I’m a child? I’m glad we could be mature about this.

You kids are really trying to get rid of that book aren’t you?

I’ve no reason to get rid of the King James Bible. I consult it often! However, because King James Version exclusivity is taught as doctrine, it is the duty of Christians who have not been ensnared in such a stronghold to rebuke and correct the error that others might enjoy in the Scriptures more wholly.

You haven’t proved any error in the KJB. Rantycad, yells as loud as he can, EASTER is a provable error!! Says who? You? Who are you? Well, if that’s so, then discard the KJB. Why go on about it? If YOU think that it has an error, get rid of it. But, ya see, I DON’T think it is a provable error, in spite of the sloppy logic you’ve applied. I’ve read all that shinola before,…

Would that be Shinola the shoe polish or Shinola the indie rock band? I’ve never heard the word before, but it doesn’t appear to be something to read at all.

Or maybe referring to "sloppy logic" as shoe polish is an "in" thing to do; I don’t claim to be hip enough to know. :-)

…and it didn’t convince me then, what makes you think it is going to shake me up now? I was rather convinced by the article I read about 15 years ago on the Easter issue. You came in too late. Your shinola is just more re-hashed trash that has been asked and answered. So we’re at cross roads aren’t we? You think that any Bible that suits your preferences is the word of God. I think that what the Bible says about itself is what makes finding God’s word a simple task. Find the book that claims to be God’s word and see if it has anything, anything at all that is untrue, and if it does, you can safely discard it.

Actually, I would like you to deal with the Easter issue. The only argument I have ever — ever — heard from the King James Only camp in favor of "Easter" appearing in the article is that the context makes it impossible for "Passover" to be used, for the Days of Unleavened Bread were occurring, an event which — according to King James Onlyists — follows the Passover. Therefore, it would be impossible to wait until after the Passover — if indeed the Days of Unleavened Bread were already in progress — unless one were waiting until next year’s Passover.

However, rendering pascha as "Passover" instead of Easter (as it is every other time in the Scriptures) makes perfect sense, for at least once in the King James Version (and others) Passover is described as a weeklong observance — one and the same as the Days of Unleavened Bread — thus rendering the Onlyist’s argument above invalid.

What does the nasb say in Mark 1:-1-3? Is it true? Just answer me yes or no, is it true? If it ain’t, discard it because it failed to meet the criteria put forth by the word of God itself.

Admittedly, I had trouble finding the negative first verse of Mark 1; such doesn’t even exist in my King James Version. Just for fun, though, I’ll use just verses positive 1 through 3. :-)

Sure it’s true. Conflation accounts for many such a citation, including that contained in Mark 1:1-3.

I didn’t ask you if it was in the Greek, or if your pet scholar has a reason it can say what it says. I asked you a simple question, is it true? No it is not. So move on, the nasb failed the word of God’s own built in qualifications for itself.

If conflation is such a gross error, I hope you excommunicate for lying anyone who has ever referred to the Book of Proverbs as "the Proverbs of Solomon" or the Psalms as "the Psalms of David" when in fact several writers were involved in their creation…

So no, the New American Standard Bible has not failed the "truth" test; in the scroll titled "Isaiah the prophet," both the books of Isaiah and Malachi — or portions of them — and possibly other Scriptures as well are present and so both quotes are accounted for. You’ll note that the text does not say, "it is written by Isaiah the prophet"; such a change would be a true problem.

Does the Peshitta in Mark 1:1-3 tell the truth? Yes or no. I didn’t ask you if it is found in a family of manuscripts or is in agreement with your pet school. I asked you simply enough, is it true? No. Discard it then. It isn’t the word of God according to the word of God.

My pets have never went to school, nor do I know what Peshitta is. I’m beginning to see why so many people choose to simply ignore copy/paste attacks.

Can you see which way this thing is going? After we line up all the versions that tell the truth in Mark 1:1-3, we get another question to see if they are telling the truth. On it goes.

Manuscripts, lectionaries, church fathers, my favorite heretic, preacher, writer, dictionary or any other fool thing used to place the final consideration upon the preferences of the reader are of no consequence.

So you toss out all of the available evidence and tools for Bible study? Even the manuscripts… the *untranslated* Word of God‽ If your beliefs and methodologies are wholly correct, then you must confront the natural conclusion of them: 1,950 or so years ago, if a King James Bible were to be delivered unto the apostles, they would be forced to conclude that it is more perfect than the epistles & Gospels that they have (or will have) written. Does a translation from 400 years ago really override manuscript evidence from 1800+ years ago?

Wow.

You are arguing about the wrong junk. Is the book you got in your hand that claims to be a Bible telling the truth in every verse, every page, every statement that it makes? If not, then it fails the test of what God Himself said His word is.

Just like the King James Version does in mentioning "Easter" or implying that the Holy Ghost can be received at some time "since we believed" rather than the moment of belief itself. But I’m sure you have a great answer to those — without even touching any tool such as a lectionary or concordance even (at least, I hope you wouldn’t, after what you said above…).

I am of the conviction that in the last 23 years of listening to both oral and written arguments both for and against that no one has shown me an error in the book I call the word of God. That’s why I still call it the word of God. That’s why I don’t call anything else the word of God. They may be Bibles, they may be translations, they may be a whole lot of stuff, but they ain’t the word of God according to the word of God.

Can you actually deal with the errors in the King James Version on a textual level, rather than a "if it’s in the King James Version, it ain’t error" level? If not, then you have proved nothing and are bound by your own preferences. You argue well that God has given and preserved for us His Word; however, nothing you have said lends any credence to King James Onlyism.

Can you prove me wrong on this? If you try, you’re arguing with the author of the word of God, not me. He is the one who said that His word is PURE, ETERNAL, TRUE and CORRECT. I didn’t say that, He did.

No, but you’re the one passing the buck; God didn’t say, "Always be ready to pass along those with challenges and questions, assuring them that you are right but refusing to give a defense for your beliefs." Rather, He said such things as "rebuke," "reprove," and "correct," and those with all patience. He said to always be ready to give an answer for the hope within. And on and on. If I were to question God regarding the issue of King James Onlyism, I would go to His Word to search the issue out; this I have done (though in reaction to fundamental Baptists, not God), and have come up empty handed, having found no verse which speaks of a "pure translation" put together by a group of Anglicans using (Roman Catholic) Erasmus’ text.

Are you really serious that there are no verses in the book I hold in my hand that say I cannot prove what the word of God is and what it is not?
Can you be trusted to teach the nursery since you can’t even teach us what the word of God says about itself?

Again, you are making an argument where there is none; there is no disagreement about what the Word of God is. There is, however, disagreement as to which translation best represents the Word of God. There may be a myriad of ways to correctly translate a text (anyone with even the simplest knowledge of translation can attest to that), and so it should be expected that to fully represent the Word of God (a Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic text) in English may require numerous translations to fully represent it. To even pretend that one translation is perfect and contains all shades of meaning as the originals is foolishness without merit.

It’s simply a matter of elimination. God has a standard. He has said so in His Bible.

You gotta be kidding. No verses. hahahahahhaha.

By that standard, then, I guess the King James Version is out. It’s a good thing there’s no shortage of possible replacements.

I cannot help but wonder what the perfect and proper translation was in 1610; I also cannot help but wonder what happened to it to cause it to be ousted by a new perfect and proper translation in 1611. Further, I cannot help but wonder why the pre-1611 translation was able to be replaced while the 1611 translation is supposedly irreplaceable.

That’s the problem with traditions; they hold as much water as barrel without a bottom.

The King James Only Challenge is still open. Without touching other versions (you are an Onlyist, are you not?), lexicons, dictionaries, concordances, or any of that other stuff, build the doctrine of King James Onlyism using the Scriptures alone. That task is more than coming up with "the Bible is true," "God cannot lie," or other generalities that even I — a user of a number of new-fangled versions — wholeheartedly believe.

If this task cannot be done, then the principles of Sola Scriptura as well as that the Scriptures are sufficient to establish every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17) are patently denied, relegating King James Onlyism to the realm of heresy, being a teaching which causes far too much division within the greater Body of Christ.

And in the area of Bible versions, we do not need to cause division. Separate from those who deny the Christ. Separate from those who deny salvation by grace through faith. Separate on the bases of those things the Scriptures give us to separate from. Creating new divisions based on preferences and traditions is itself condemned within the Scriptures, and it’s despairing to see my brothers committing such.

3 thoughts on “A Reply to Mitchell Regarding King James Onlyism

  1. Jeff says:

    Rick,

    Well said.

    What the Bible does say:

    Romans 10:17
    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    2 Timothy 3:16
    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    One of the fundamentals of our faith is the fact that the Bible is the author of our doctrine. Sola Scriptura, by scripture alone. This helps keep us out of the trouble of false doctrine. If scripture is profitable for doctrine, and our faith comes from hearing this scripture, what room is there for scriptureless doctrine?

    In many ways, onlyism is like other ascriptural beliefs, such as the Assumption of Mary. This Catholic teaching says that Mary was assumed into heaven (without dieing). It’s not found anywhere in the Bible, yet many people believe it by faith. Do KJVOs reject this doctrine? Absolutely. Yet they cannot reject their own doctrine of onlyism on the same grounds. Why is that? Any doctrine that is not found in the Bible cannot be taken by faith. It may be taken by fact/sight/logic, but not by faith.

    Ultimately, onlyism is not a fact. It’s not logical. And it’s not part of my faith, because it’s found nowhere in scripture. But that doesn’t mean the KJV is without value. I choose to primarily read the KJV out of preference. Not out of onlyism.

    Ever since I was very young (as far back as I can remember), I was told the KJV was the only true Bible, and that all others were counterfeits and perversions, authored by Satan. I had no problem believing that because I’ve been told it my entire life- it must be true! But I later realized that doctrine without scripture is just man-made religion.

    God gave us his word. He gave it to mankind in the form of Hebrew and Greek. If anything has the right to be called the inerrant words of God, it is those originals and nothing else. But those have perished. What we have left are copies and translations all tainted with the errant nature of man, and the fog of barriers of language. It is our responsibility to spread the word to all people, in all languages. We also have the responsibility to reach our own language. Early Modern English is an obsolete language, and few people are comfortable reading it (some of us who grew up on it are more comfortable with it rather than Modern English, myself included). We should not condemn newer translations designed to make the word more available to people based on a man-made doctrine that is not supported by scripture! Who are we to judge these translations simply because they aren’t KJV?

    Anyway, I appreciate the challenge, Rick. It reminds us that in reality, there is no scripture to back this movement. And maybe one or two people will come out of the chains of onlyism as a result.

    God bless,

    Jeff

  2. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    If they come out of it, surely it will be because of God opening their hearts, not my challenge; if the challenge is used as a means to His ends, though, that would be more than enough to humble and bring joy to me.

    That said, you are correct in what you have said, and you have placed yourself on the same level as the King James Version translators themselves, who proclaimed in the preface to their translation, that even “the meanest” (or, basest, most ignoble, etc.) translation “is the word of God.”

    Now, according to King James Onlyists, the translators were completely wrong in that point. It is then a great irony that they trust as perfect the work of men who they would condemn as being unable to recognize the word of God!

    Sadly, Onlyism is not new by any means. The tradition-based, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitudes date back to the very earliest Christians, some of which viewed the Septuagint as an inspired (and thus perfect) translation, citing divine providence just as King James Onlyists must do in order to claim a pure work of translation by men.

    In fact, in the fifth century Jerome chose to make a new translation of the Scriptures into Greek; he did his work based upon the Hebrew texts themselves, and not upon the Septuagint. This resulted in objections from some, most notably Augustine of Hippo. It is notable that Augustine’s objection was not based upon the accuracy of Jerome’s translation, but upon its unfamiliarity. Is this not a similar reactionary objection that the King James Onlyists use in saying that by using multiple Bible versions, confusion could result as the verses everyone has memorized are most likely King James Version and somehow incompatible with the new versions? I think it is. There is nothing new under the sun.

    Jerome’s translation, the Vulgate, would later become the “standard” version that Onlyists would cling to, as evidenced a thousand years later when Erasmus was to make a new translation.

    Indeed, Erasmus’ addition of 1 John 5:7 was not due to real manuscript evidence, but due to a loss of a bet, of sorts. It is quite likely that a forged or otherwise altered manuscript was presented to him, and having agreed to include the verse if just one manuscript could be manifested, 1 John 5:7 was included.

    Erasmus text would go on to become the standard. And later, the King James Bible. (And we’re still putting up with the 1 John 5:7 thing which, despite it having no evidence of being actual Scripture, is fought for vehemently by traditionalists. The claim that removing it attacks the doctrine of the Trinity is bonkers; if your defense of the Trinity stands or falls upon that one verse, your defense needs serious help.

    Tradition can be a good or bad thing; in the case of Onlyism — where one version is dogmatically chosen over others — I would argue that it is dangerous.

    (The history above was found in The King James Only Controversy by James R. White, an excellent, objective work on the subject.)

  3. Kimia Wood says:

    Whoo! Great post :) You had me giggling!
    Although I will never repent of my unBiblical chocolate ice cream and you might as well burn me at the stake right here.

    I actually found your post while preparing a very long letter to Chick Publications (that will probably not be read) because I’ve had it up to here with their bitter, self-righteous insistence that there is no Bible but the KJV and Jack Chick is his prophet…er…
    And because as their sister in Christ I want so badly for them to be free of this idolatry and, as you said, be able to experience the different shades of meaning God offers us in His preserved word.

    Extra props for taking that name-calling ignorant who doesn’t know how to frame an argument, and fencing with him like a totally chill grown-up. Many thanks!

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