Announcing A New ‘Strange Category’ – “KJV-Onlyism”

[And now, for something completely different…]

“If it ain’t King James, IT AIN’T BIBLE!” Most readers of the blog from the southern United States have probably seen this bumper sticker on a pickup truck at some point. And if you’re like me, your first inclination is probably to just kind of chuckle and then keep driving along without thinking much about how to confront the idea of KJV-Onlyism. But there are direct Gospel implications to the KJV-Only position, and it is for this reason that this blog has a link to “KJV-Only Debate Resources” in the sidebar. Additionally, with this post, I am starting a category of articles to address this topic.

The impact that the KJV-Only position has on limiting the proclamation of the Gospel to all people has been driven home to me in a couple of different ways. Most recently, I had a co-worker from Brazil who was learning to improve his English skills along with his wife who speaks very little English. My co-worker is a sincere Christian, who loves to read about the things of God and speak to others about the Gospel, but his wife is a Roman Catholic. He, of course, is very eager for his wife to embrace the Good News of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. When my co-worker first moved into this area, he was looking for a Baptist church to join so that he and his wife could be under the regular ministry of the Gospel. But the first Baptist church that they began attending was quickly discovered to hold to KJV-Onlyism, and people from the church began to debate my co-worker about this issue. Just imagine: this man has come to America; he was raised speaking Portuguese, has become fluent in Spanish, and has achieved an intermediate level of English proficiency; he is looking for a place where he can worship God and where he and his wife, who is not a Christian and just beginning to learn English, can get help with their language learning; then, due to some obscure tradition, he has people trying to foist a Bible translation on him that is difficult even for native English speakers to read! Effectively, in order for his wife to be reached by the Gospel ministry in this environment, she would not only have to learn modern English to understand the preaching, but she would also, for some reason, have to learn the English of Shakespeare to understand the reading of the Bible! In her case– with her background in Portuguese and Spanish– it probably would have been easier just to learn Latin and read the Vulgate version! Needless to say, they did not stay with that congregation and my co-worker’s wife was probably left with a lower opinion of Protestants in general.

For reasons such as the example I have given, I encourage everyone reading this blog to acquaint yourself with the materials found in the “KJV-Only Debate Resources” and to consider the things that will be posted in the KJV-Onlyism category of this blog. We must be ready to confront this strange tradition so as to promote the spread of the Good News of reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ to all people, in language that they can understand.

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24 Comments on “Announcing A New ‘Strange Category’ – “KJV-Onlyism””

  1. scripturesearcher Says:

    Seems so odd, in light of all the information available, that there are still people in 2006 who want to argue this issue, plow this ground and waste words about this matter.


  2. I’ll keep checking back on this subject. I have only had a couple of encounters with people of this background. I’m interested in learning the ins and outs of the position. Thanks for the post.

  3. Gordan Says:

    I want to Amen the recommendation of Dr. James White’s book, “The King James Only Controversy.” I found it very helpful.

  4. Allan Says:

    Man do I know this subject! When I was at TTU, my first year I encountered MANY KJVonlist. It was debate almost once a week about this subject. It is sad to see something that God blessed to open the world to the Word of God become the only (so it is claimed) Word of God. Its inspiration to be translated from it’s original language into english should never be considered equal with the orginal God breathed text that were inspired to be writen word for word. I love the KJV but I have many other bibles at my disposal. I even preach from the KJV but would never goes so far as to say IT (as a translation) is the inspired word. I remember that they, at the time I was in school (early 90’s) they were called KJVers or Hyper-Fundies, becuase it was not just about the book (KJV) but a culture to them, from how you dressed to how you acted or responded. They hadn’t changed (as a group) when I attended SEBT for time in the early parts of 2000. You have to admire their dedication but be sadened by their devotion to something that lacks what a relationship to the Father entails.

  5. Josh Says:

    I was nearly assaulted by one of those little “holy hairdo” laides in an ankle length dress one time because I was reading two versions side by side. She didn’t catch it that one of them was the KJV I suppose.

    Anyway while I don’t have any sympathy for that crew at all I have, occasionally, wondered if a line should be drawn. I mean, how many versions of the Bible do we need?

    Much Grace
    Josh

  6. Fred Butler Says:

    I use to be a die-hard KJV onlyists. I am currently blogging a series on the subject and my journey from being a KJV onlyists to being “sound in mind.” Past articles are linked in the sidebar for those interested.

    James White has written a good book, but a much better book and one that is a bit shorter and more concise is “One Bible Only?” edited by Bauder and Beacham. Also two books put out by the professors at Bob Jones University “From the Mind of God to the Mind of Men” and “God’s Word in Our Hands.” The latter deals more with the doctrine of preservation while dealing with KJV argumentation. Then Rick Norris has privately published an excellent work called Unbound Scriptures which is probably the most comprehensive discussion on KJV only literature available. It is nearly 500 pages and an easy read. I wrote a review of it that can be read here:

    http://www.fredsbibletalk.com/theunboundscriptures.html

    From our vantage point, men who are exposed to solid teaching, the KJV only issue seems so trival and ridiculous. But believe me, there is a massive contingency of unwashed masses out in regular churches who are not being taught correctly about the transmission of the Bible and they are easy victims for what appears to be sophisticated arguments put out by KJV onlyists like David Cloud and D.A. Waite. It would do well for a pastor or pastoral staff to familiarize themselves with their arguments and prepare to refute them. It may seem silly, but a well spoken KJV apologist can wreck havoc in a Church, especially if he is not “answered” and just dismissed.

    Fred

  7. Gene Says:

    Okay, I’ll be the first to say it:

    Andrew Lindsey is a devil priest. 😀

    Seriously, Andrew, this is a good topic. There are just a handful of these folks here in NC, but I hear there are lots out West.

  8. nathan Says:

    The elementry part of my school it KJV only and they have a book store. I’m going to get about a dozen of James White’s ,”The King James only Controversy” and donate them to it.

  9. bill Says:

    One of the things that some might find interesting is that when the King ordered the KJV to be done, he had many rules attached to the translation. Actually there were thousands of rules or “fences.”

    One of those rules is that the interpretation could not differ in any way from the Official Church.

    From this point of view, one can see all the Roman Catholic and Anglican (church of England) influences on the generations of study.

    One has to wonder if we had been raised and trained on the Holman Bible, what would we be teaching. (tee-hee)

    when, at seminary the history prof showed us the King James list of rules, it began the persecution and removal process of the best teacher on campus from that group who like to do such things. He had let a secret out of the bag they didn’t want the younger preachers to know.

  10. Allan Says:

    And yet it still reads word for word as the other bibles we have today.

  11. Scot Hughes Says:

    Guess you guys know better than I, but as yet I haven’t found one that flows as beautifully, conveys the truth so well, and insipres so greatly. So I humbly bow in acknowledgement of being a KJV-Onlist, only because man has yet to improve on what has for over three hundred years has been a medium for changing lives by expressing the ‘Word’ of God.(see 1st John)

  12. Drew Says:

    I am not against the KJV by any means. I find it useful, but language changes(ie. in old english, the word “quick” meant sharp. When you read that the word of God is “quick and powerful like a two-edged sword”, it wasn’t talking about the bible being fast.) I think that, because of human error, reading and comparing multiple translations is important. What one translation may not convey very clearly, another may clarify. Also, be conscious of the difference between a translation and a paraphrase. “The Message” is a paraphrase and is a loose translation of the Bible. It is meant to get the main points across, but not for in-depth study. My personal favorite is the New Living Translation. It speaks to me in a language that I know and understand. It is almost as though someone is speaking to me rather than trying to figure out what they mean. Honestly, who says “begat” anymore?

  13. Robert Says:

    I’m not a KJVOnly sort of person and I can’t understand why anyone would be…but my comment here would be to Scot Hughes: your statement:

    “but as yet I haven’t found one that flows as beautifully, conveys the truth so well, and insipres so greatly.”

    I too like the “flowery language” of much of the King James version, but one thing to remember is that in the days when this was translated, this language was the “language of the culture” and so it’s a language of familiarity, the same way some of the more modern versions are today such as NIV or whatever…
    You might say that todays versions don’t sound as majestic, but that’s only from our perspective, “thee, thou, thine” were terms of familiarity back then, the same as our “you, yours, his, ours” are today…

    We all have our preferences but none is “inspired” above others…

    God bless,
    bob

  14. David Says:

    As an English speaking and reading American Christian, I’m a KJVprimarilist. I prefer it due to it’s “flowery” language and basis on the Textus Receptus; however, I love it due to its’ lack of copyright! Call me a cynic, but I’ve got to go with the free. Kind of like salvation – free.


  15. re: I love it due to its’ lack of copyright! Call me a cynic, but I’ve got to go with the free.

    I want to heartily affirm this statement. Nothing is better than free.

  16. Robert Says:

    FREE???
    Did someone say free? Must be those darned Arminians again!

    Whoops…that’s a different thread… 🙂

    bob

  17. Wolfmamaof3 Says:

    This blog interested me as to I am a born again christian (1990) and when first saved the church I joined was a only KJV. I told the Pastor I was having a hard time reading the KJV and understanding it. I started reading different versions. The past almost 8 months I have found my self reading only the KJV and understanding it very well. Only to Gods power and might. I prayed for Gods to open the KJV to my heart and give me the wisdom and knowledge, and understanding. God is true to His word!
    Sister in Christ

  18. Robert Says:

    Wolf,
    Praise God for your conversion! I have the KJV among many others and I use several at a time.

    I DID know that after my conversion, a LOVE for scripture was put in my heart and because all of a sudden I CARED what God had to say, I studied and read and read…and it’s never stopped!

    In fact…if I was stranded on a desert island, just give me solar power for my laptop, and my Logos bible software, and I’m happy!


  19. If calling Jesus Christ “a son of the gods” in Daniel 3:25 is to you a better translation than the true prophecy in the King James of “The Son of God,” then you’ve got real issues to deal with. Try calling Jesus “a son of the gods” and ask him how he feels about it. Don’t tell me it was a pagan king and all that other stuff. This was a direct prophecy of the Son of God and it has been completely corrupted. You wonder why KJ only people don’t want anything to do with your modern bibles. They are heretical.

    Steve McCalip

  20. Darrin Says:

    And Steve, you may wonder why other believers are also hesitant sometimes to deal with KJ only people. Your comment is a good example. It is more emoting than reasoning.

  21. jesse childress Says:

    Darrin, your response also shows your lack of knowledge in why KJV only-ists do not understand why to use new versions. You act as if your position on the matter is fact, (I believe you support the new versions by the attitude of you response) but you downsize someone who s in opposition with you with no reason as to why you believe the way that you do. He gave clear examples as to his position, you did nothing but act as if he was someone who could not understand yours. Please provide the reason you support the new versions, and refute the examples he has given, or do not say anything. By the way I am also KJV only. I stand behind the “majority text” and disapprove of the nestle/aland, westcott/Hoet greek text that underlies all of the new versions. Neither of these men were born again by their own testimonies, and the manuscripts they used were the Vaticanus (found in the popes library, underlying the Latin Vulgate translation) and the sinaiticus (found in a monastery trash can, with many scribbles and entire passages left out). The ” majority, or received text” holds all points of doctrine 100% (deity of christ, virgin birth, eternal security, submersion baptism, etc) I will stick to the because I know that this is the best version in the english language.


  22. re: “new versions”

    -Why not go with an older English version; for example, the 1599 Geneva Bible, which is just as easy to understand?

  23. Darrin Says:

    Jesse,
    Apologies if I misrepresented all KJV-onlyists as merely emoting. Steve had come in fairly harshly and I was answering accordingly, which wasn’t good. I really didn’t see a need to refute “examples” as you call them, as he gave only one, and I truly don’t feel that the alternate translation in Daniel detracts from the deity of Christ one bit. He certainly is not a “son of the gods” but why should we get upset that this man claimed His appearance was as such in his eyes? This is what he understood. You may as well pick at a pictorial simile John uses to describe God in Revelation.
    Regarding translations, I love the KJV. I’ve used it more than any other translation. But have I been edified by the NKJV, RSV, NASB, ESV, and maybe even the NIV as well? Absolutely. For you to claim exclusitivity of a single translation is, as Andrew says, a strange and obscure tradition. Indeed, a treasure was found in that trash heap at Sinai, dating back far before all that your humanist Catholic scholar Erasmus had available for your textus receptus. And he did a good job considering the time alloted and the materials available, though not without error, as I’m sure was commonly known even among his contemporaries.
    I’m reading the ESV lately, and I can go to the Greek provided if there is doubt of accuracy. And of course the latest versions still use the receptus, but now have more points of comparison, many due to older manuscripts, graciously given by God in the last couple centuries? Who are you to detract from His work?
    I am convinced that other versions, not only the KJV, are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. And as has been said in this post, it simply isn’t the language of the people anymore. I think it is possibly the most beautifully written work known to man, but I am more interested in people reading and knowing their Bibles than insisting that they read my personal favorite.

  24. Steve M. Says:

    Well, my last comment was in 2008 and a lot has changed in me since then. I still believe the KJV is without error, but I don’t believe I or anyone else is without error, so I am not willing to attack a brother who believes otherwise like I used to. Truth without love profits me nothing, and I didn’t realize how true that was back then.


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