Now, About Those Differences, Part Twenty Three

The entire “Now About Those Differences” series is available here.

Sinister et Dexter

The best and most accurate body of manuscripts underlying the New Testament is the Textus Receptus. This then supports the King James Version for which I unashamedly stand and from which I exclusively study and preach.

—Evangelist Dwight Smith

The Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Received Text of the New Testament (Textus Receptus) are those texts of the original languages we accept and use; the King James Version of the Bible is the only English version we accept and use.

—Temple Baptist Church and Crown College, Knoxville, Tennessee

At first glance, the present essay will appear to be a digression from the conversation about fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals—and a lengthy digression at that. It is not. It is rather an attempt at recognizing that, when the principles of Christian fellowship and separation are applied consistently, they affect our relationship with professing fundamentalists as well as our relationship with other evangelicals. To illustrate this point, let me begin with a personal anecdote.

Not long ago, a reader of this publication sent the following question, signing himself as Richard V. Clearwaters: “I preached my entire ministry from the KJV. Was that wrong, outmoded, or ineffective? You seem to loathe anyone who does preach from this Bible and won’t preach from another? [sic]” Naturally, the author of these words was not R. V. Clearwaters, but the question was meant seriously.

This kind of query always leaves me nonplussed—not because of the pseudepigraphy, but because of the assumption behind the question. It assumes that a critique of King James Onlyism constitutes a critique of the King James Version. To question the legitimacy of King James Only convictions or tactics is somehow to attack the King James Bible and all who use it. On occasion, correspondents have informed me that my critique of their position identifies me as a member of the “Alexandrian cult,” which is supposed to be a secret society going back to Patristic times. One even said that he had my number, “and it’s 666.”

Objecting to the misuse of a thing, however, is not the same as objecting to the thing itself. I dislike the idea of hearing Bach’s Goldberg Variations played by kazoo, not because I dislike Bach, but because I do not wish to see Bach debased. By the same token, my objection is not to the King James Version, but to those who make false claims about it. This distinction seems so obvious that I have trouble taking critics seriously when they cannot seem to grasp it.

In the interest of full disclosure, perhaps I should state that I am one of those misfits who still prefers to use a King James. Given a choice, it is what I will preach from (and since I am almost always given a choice, it is almost always what I use). It is the English text that I employ in my seminary teaching. It is the Bible that I have committed to memory and the Bible that I quote. Never in my life have I raised any objection to reading or using the King James Version.

Let me go further. I confess the King James Version to be the Word of God. It is Holy Scripture. I hold it to be authoritative. When I read it (as I do each day), God holds me responsible to obey what I read.

Some might believe that my attitude displays too much deference or reverence toward what is, after all, a translation of Scriptures that were originally written in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. Can a translation carry that kind of authority? On this point, I agree with the King James translators themselves.

[W]e do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English…containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the King’s speech, which he uttereth in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, everywhere.

Since I highly esteem the King James Version of the Bible, then what is my disagreement with the King James Only movement? Between us lie two bones of contention, two questions that must be answered. The first is, how do we regard other versions of the Bible? The second is, does the use of the King James fall under the category of personal preference or under the category of doctrine?

To illustrate the differences, I have included two quotations at the beginning of this essay. The first is from the doctrinal statement of a well-respected itinerant preacher. The second is from the doctrinal statement of a prominent, church-based, independent Baptist college.

Both statements come out in the same place. Both are willing to recognize and employ only the King James Version as the Word of God in the English language. The preacher prides himself that the King James Version is the only Bible that he will use, not only to preach, but to study. If someone places a New International Version in his hand, he will not study it. If a church asks that he respect their decision to use the New American Standard in their services, he will not do it. He does not want to study God’s Word if it is not the King James Version.

The second statement is even more emphatic. The King James Version is the only English version that the college is willing to accept and use. They do not accept the American Standard Version of 1901. They do not accept the New American Standard. They do not accept the New International Version. They will not accept the English Standard Version. As far as this school is concerned, only the King James Version is the Word of God in English.

Given the stated attitude of these sources toward modern translations, two observations are in order. The first is that their position does not represent historic, mainstream fundamentalism. Speaking of mainstream fundamentalists, the real Richard V. Clearwaters wrote the following in The Great Conservative Baptist Compromise.

Honesty compels us to cite the 1901 American Revised as the best English Version of the original languages which places us in a position 290 years ahead of those who are still weighing the King James of 1611 for demerits….We know of no Fundamentalists…that claim the King James as the best English translation. Those in the main stream of Fundamentalism all claim the American Revised of 1901 as the best English translation.

My second observation is that the attitude displayed by the aforementioned preacher and college is genuinely contemptuous of the Word of God. If I were to declare that the King James Version was not the Word of God, then King James Only advocates would quickly and rightly excoriate me for my contempt of Scripture—regardless of my attitude toward other versions. Yet they themselves refuse to acknowledge the American Standard Version (et al.) as the Word of God.

Read again what the King James translators wrote to their readers. Translations may differ in grace or fitness of expression, but even a “mean” translation must be regarded as God’s Word. A person who despises the King James has shown contempt for God’s Word. By the same token, a person who despises the NASV or the NIV has shown contempt for God’s Word.

What is more, this contemptuous attitude toward the Word of God is not held merely as a personal preference. Rather, it is affirmed as a matter of doctrine—indeed, of vital doctrine. These King James Only advocates do not simply agree to disagree.

Look again at the quotations at the beginning of this essay. These citations are not drawn from position papers or editorials. They are taken from doctrinal statements.

The point of a doctrinal statement is not to articulate the entire system of faith. No one tries to include every belief in a doctrinal statement. When we write doctrinal statements, we aim to include only our most characteristic and important beliefs.

As a matter of doctrine, the itinerant preacher refuses to study any translation of the Bible except the King James. As a matter of doctrine, the college accepts and uses only the King James Bible. For these individuals, rejecting other versions of the Word of God is so important that they feel compelled to include their rejection in their creedal affirmations.

Such attitudes are hardly rare. In a series of videos released during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pensacola Christian College (PCC) accused several fundamentalist institutions of sinful hypocrisy for not following a King James Only position. PCC has never repented of these public attacks. At West Coast Baptist College, graduating seniors do not receive their diplomas until they publicly stand to affirm that “God has preserved His Word in the King James Version for the English speaking people,” and agree that if they ever abandon this belief, they “should return [their] diploma and relinquish all rights, privileges, and honors that are accompanied with it.”

Extreme as these pronouncements are, evangelists such as Smith and colleges such as Crown, Pensacola, and West Coast actually represent the very moderate side of the King James Only movement. I have seen others cast the New American Standard Version to the ground. I have heard them denounce the New International Version as a “perversion.” More vitriolic King James Only advocates are even willing to attack the more moderate expressions of their own movement. For example, author William P. Grady has blasted Crown College and its president, Clarence Sexton, charging that school with apostasy (incidentally, Grady’s books—especially Final Authority: A Christian’s Guide to the King James Bible—are indispensable reading for those who wish to understand the mindset and sensibilities of the King James Only movement).

Sadly, these people are attempting to create a new fundamentalism on the basis of a new fundamental. They have set themselves up as judges over the Word of God, determining for hundreds and thousands of Christians what will and what will not be recognized as Scripture. Alongside the gospel, they have introduced loyalty to the King James Version as a test of Christian fellowship.

How are these observations relevant to the relationship between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals? To answer this question, we must remember a bit of history.

American evangelicalism broke with fundamentalism when people like Harold John Ockenga, Edward John Carnell, and Billy Graham created a new evangelicalism. The error of neoevangelicalism was serious. New evangelicals rejected the fundamentalist insistence that the fundamentals of the gospel constitute the boundary of Christian fellowship. Fundamentalists tried to separate from apostates, but neoevangelicals tolerated apostates in their organizations, sought to cooperate with apostates in the Lord’s work, and tried to infiltrate enterprises that were controlled by apostates.

The error of the King James Only movement is opposite but equal to the error of the new evangelicalism. The new evangelicals wanted to remove the fundamentals (i.e., the gospel) as the boundary of Christian fellowship. The King James Only movement wishes to add to the fundamentals (i.e., the gospel) as the boundary of Christian fellowship. Neoevangelicalism could be called “sub-fundamentalist,” while the King James Only movement is hyper-fundamentalist.

Of course, the King James Only movement is only one species of hyper-fundamentalism. Hyper-fundamentalism may revolve around personal and institutional loyalties, idiosyncratic agendas, absurd ethical standards, or the elevation of incidental doctrines and practices. The thing that characterizes all versions of hyper-fundamentalism is the insistence upon draconian reactions for relatively pedestrian—or even imaginary—offenses.

Hyper-fundamentalism and the new evangelicalism are mirror images of each other. The old neoevangelicalsim damaged the gospel, not by denying it, but by attacking its role as a demarcator between Christianity and apostasy. The hyper-fundamentalist does the same kind of damage by adding something else alongside the gospel. If anything, King James Onlyism is worse, for it shows contempt for the Word of God. It attacks the heart of Christianity by sitting in judgment over its source of authority.

Neoevangelicalism and hyper-fundamentalism are equal errors. Whatever we should have done in response to the new evangelicals is the same thing that we should do now in response to hyper-fundamentalists. Historic, mainstream, biblical fundamentalism has no more in common with Pensacola, Crown, and West Coast than it had with Ockenga, Carnell, and Graham.

Incidentally, no one should infer from this discussion that I think every King James Only advocate is hypocritical or defiant toward God. Nor should anyone assume that God cannot use King James Only churches, preachers, and schools. In His grace, He can and does. And of course, these same caveats should be applied to neoevangelicals: they were not necessarily insincere or defiant toward God, and God did work through them.

Furthermore, not all fundamentalists are hyper-fundamentalists, any more than all evangelicals are (or were) neoevangelicals. Several mediating positions exist. Historic, mainstream fundamentalism has been one of those mediating positions. Conservative evangelicalism is another.

In my opinion, fundamentalists are biblically obligated to separate from brethren who practice the neoevangelical philosophy. In the same way, and for much the same reasons, we are also obligated to separate from hyper-fundamentalists. We should not separate from either group as if they are apostates or enemies. Nevertheless, our ability to work with them is limited by their errors.

Conservative evangelicals do not want to be recognized as fundamentalists, and they do not belong in that category. At the same time, they are not guilty of the more serious errors that plagued the new evangelicalism. Unless separation is an all-or-nothing matter (and in the case of separation from Christians it is not), then we should recognize a greater degree of commonality and fellowship with conservative evangelicals than we could with neoevangelicals—or with hyper-fundamentalists.

Fundamentalists of the main stream do have more in common with conservative evangelicals than they have in common with hyper-fundamentalists. In particular, we have more in common with biblically responsible conservative evangelicals than we do with the captains of the King James Only movement. If we believe in separation, we ought to be separating from hyper-fundamentalists more quickly and more publicly than we do from conservative evangelicals.

How do these relationships work out in real life? For the final essay of this series, I would like to deal with two personal examples. The first was an occasion when I was invited to share a platform with a hyper-fundamentalist. The second was an occasion when I was invited to speak with a conservative evangelical. I plan to compare my handling of these situations to the way that other fundamentalists have responded in similar circumstances. While my response to these situations is certainly subject to critique, these episodes offer good, existential case studies of the effort to apply biblical principles to fellowship and separation.

Advent, 1
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

‘Come,’ Thou dost say to Angels,
To blessed Spirits, ‘Come’:
‘Come,’ to the lambs of Thine own flock,
Thy little ones, ‘Come home.’

‘Come,’ from the many-mansioned house
The gracious word is sent;
‘Come,’ from the ivory palaces
Unto the Penitent.

O Lord, restore us deaf and blind,
Unclose our lips though dumb:
Then say to us, ‘I will come with speed,’
And we will answer, ‘Come.’

[node:bio/kevin-t-bauder body]

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There are 202 Comments

Jonathan Charles's picture

Crown wrote:
The Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Received Text of the New Testament (Textus Receptus) are those texts of the original languages we accept and use; the King James Version of the Bible is the only English version we accept and use.

What gets me about this statement is that the NKJV was translated from the same texts as the KJV. When you get down to it, it isn't about the underlying texts with these guys. Since the real issue with them isn't the underlying texts, I don't see how they keep from holding to double inspiration. They know to reject double inspiration since it is not taught in the Bible, but when you elevate the translation above the texts from which it came I don't see how you can logically avoid not holding to double inspiration, whether you will admit it or not.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I am empathetic to the ferocious beating Dr. Bauder is sure to receive for this article, since he is not saying anything he has not already said before, and he has been receiving vicious attacks for a long time now. But I am so thankful that some leader is willing to finally make this stand. I grew up in FBF circles, but am sadly no longer comfortable there - particularly in the time since the Sweat rant against Calvinism. Too man blind eyes have been turned to those who share an outward appearance and willingness to claim the title (as long as they are allowed to define it). Perhaps the chorus will grow as Dr. Bauder and others hold the hard line of biblical, historical fundamentalism against the overwhelming tide of distortion that has been hijacking the title and corrupting the position.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Pastor Marc Monte's picture

Jonathan, you make a very broad statement by asserting that "when you get down to it, it isn't about the underlying texts with these guys." On the contrary, the men I know who hold to the traditional texts do so as the basis of their choice for an English version. Typically, they retain the KJV because it remains the most faithful translation of the underlying texts. The Trinitarian Bible Society has published an interesting pamphlet regarding problems with the NKJV translation. Many men have seen inconsistencies in its translation as well as marginal notes. For example, though it follows the KJV translation of "God" at the all-important I Timothy 3:16 passage, a reference within the text directs you to a marginal option giving the Critical Text "who" as a possible rendering.

In my personal study, I recently ran across another weak translation in the NKJV. In every instance where the KJV uses the term "sodomites," the NKJV uses the translation "perverted persons." Other modern versions use the more accurate "male cult prostitute." Both "sodomites" and "male cult prostitute" present a specific class of moral perversion--studiously denied in the NKJV. Certainly all Sodomites are "perverted persons," but NOT all "perverts" are Sodomites! Numerous other examples could be given.

Simply stated, the KJV remains the most faithful translation of the traditional texts of Scripture. Those who hold to the traditional texts are not criminals or theological weirdos. In fact, all of the Reformers, including Dr. Bauder's beloved John Calvin, believed the traditional texts of Scripture to be the very words of God! Holding to the traditional texts of scripture is...well...traditional--meaning that ALL BELIEVERS accepted them as God's Word until a some scholars came around and said otherwise.

My ignoring the NKJV doesn't make mean I hold to double inspiration any more than Kevin Bauder's liking of John Calvin makes him an adherent to the traditional texts. Such thinking is emotionally charged but logically fallacious.

Just clinging to my guns and religion... www.faithbaptistavon.com

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:
The first is, how do we regard other versions of the Bible? The second is, does the use of the King James fall under the category of personal preference or under the category of doctrine?

Good questions, handy nutshell.

I think most would agree that there is a line somewhere- some versions of the Bible are just beyond the realm of usefulness and propriety, but generally speaking, implied insults (perversions, "Ruckmanite") to refer to various views on the topic close the door on beneficial discussion from the outset.

I'd rather find out how someone came to a conclusion on the issue than the conclusion itself most of the time- that tells me oodles more about their thought processes, and opens the door to a fruitful exchange of ideas. Most of the time, anyway. Just call me an unshakable optimist. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-fc/flowers.gif[/img ]

Jonathan Charles's picture

Pastor Marc Monte wrote:
Jonathan, you make a very broad statement by asserting that "when you get down to it, it isn't about the underlying texts with these guys." On the contrary, the men I know who hold to the traditional texts do so as the basis of their choice for an English version. Typically, they retain the KJV because it remains the most faithful translation of the underlying texts. The Trinitarian Bible Society has published an interesting pamphlet regarding problems with the NKJV translation. Many men have seen inconsistencies in its translation as well as marginal notes. For example, though it follows the KJV translation of "God" at the all-important I Timothy 3:16 passage, a reference within the text directs you to a marginal option giving the Critical Text "who" as a possible rendering...

I believe that with most of those who are KJV only, though they have a stand on what texts they consider reliable for translation, they simply would not accept anything contemporary translated from those texts. They would tear it down by comparing its translation to the KJV at many points. For those who make side-by-side comparisons and find the KJV stronger in places than the NKJV, do you not think that that same methodology could be turned on the KJV to show that in some places it is weak and other translations are stronger?

I really don't understand the point of those who are KJV-only to take a stand on the textual issue, or to use the underlying texts at all. If you glean anything from the Heb. and Gr. texts that you want to bring out to God's people and it isn't clear in the KJV then whatever you say on the particular text that is being dealt with becomes another possible translation of that text. KJV-only preachers deal with this gingerly. They say, "Let me paraphrase this verse for you..." or "This could also read..." If they can do that on one verse, why not for the whole Bible?

Bob T.'s picture

I would like to thank Dr. Kevin Bauder for this statement on the KJVO issue. This is a necessary stand. I live in the Antelope Valley of Southern California where I am endeavoring at the young age of 71 to start a church and to be involved in starting the "Christian Alliance on Mental Illness."

We are in the same area and shadow of Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College. The Doctrinal statement of West Coast Baptist college states:

Quote:
Doctrinal Statement
THE BIBLE
We believe the Bible to be the revealed Word of God, fully and verbally inspired of God. We believe the Scriptures to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God, as found within the 66 books from Genesis to Revelation. We believe God not only inspired every word, but has preserved them through the ages. We believe the King James Version is the preserved Word of God for the English-speaking people and is the only acceptable translation to be used in this college by faculty or students (Psalm 12:6-7; II Timothy 3:15-17; I Peter 1:23-25; II Peter 1:19-21).

Your article gives reference to the oath all graduates are required to take.

We have visited the church and at various time talked with several graduates. I have also talked personally with Paul Chappell and a staff member. It is my opinion that with many (perhaps not all) there are also several theological quirks and practices attached to the ministry, They appear to hold to the doctrine of the divine blood of Christ, its preservation, and carrying into a heavenly temple. They also appear to endorse dress codes and life style practices that are enforced militantly and often with a misapplication of scripture. No pants for women is an example.

This church and many others who hold to the KJVO position place great emphasis on evangelism. Many do seem to see people come to real faith in Christ. Whether such involves what some label as easy believism depends on the method of appeal, presentation, and closing. It also is dependent on their follow up. Lancaster Baptist does a good job in Evangelism. They are zealous and have good follow up. Yes, there are of course many false professions and many who later go out the back door of the church.

The result is that Lancaster Baptist has much to commend and much to learn from. They are impressive in their facilities, organization, and aspects of their ministry.

But the KJVO issue and accompanying mentality and doctrines make it a ministry that true Evangelicals and Fundamentalists must separate from. The reasons supporting this have been articulated on SI several times.

Thank you Kevin Bauder for this article and your stand. Thank you Central Seminary for your book on this issue titled "One Bible Only?"

Caleb S's picture

Quote:
Of course, the King James Only movement is only one species of hyper-fundamentalism. Hyper-fundamentalism may revolve around personal and institutional loyalties, idiosyncratic agendas, absurd ethical standards, or the elevation of incidental doctrines and practices. The thing that characterizes all versions of hyper-fundamentalism is the insistence upon draconian reactions for relatively pedestrian—or even imaginary—offenses.

Hyper-fundamentalism and the new evangelicalism are mirror images of each other. The old neoevangelicalsim damaged the gospel, not by denying it, but by attacking its role as a demarcator between Christianity and apostasy. The hyper-fundamentalist does the same kind of damage by adding something else alongside the gospel. If anything, King James Onlyism is worse, for it shows contempt for the Word of God. It attacks the heart of Christianity by sitting in judgment over its source of authority.

Neoevangelicalism and hyper-fundamentalism are equal errors. Whatever we should have done in response to the new evangelicals is the same thing that we should do now in response to hyper-fundamentalists. Historic, mainstream, biblical fundamentalism has no more in common with Pensacola, Crown, and West Coast than it had with Ockenga, Carnell, and Graham.

Timely. Especially with respect to the first paragraph I quoted. Thank you Dr. Bauder. To God be the glory. . .

Pastor Marc Monte's picture

Jonathan, you wrote, "I really don't understand the point of those who are KJV-only to take a stand on the textual issue, or to use the underlying texts at all." Thanks for your honesty, because much heat has been produced at this point with little light. I use the KJV, believing that it is the best translation of the traditional texts of Scripture. My stand on the textual issue is the long-standing, traditional stand of the entire Christian church up until the late 1800's. I stand for the traditional texts of Scripture because these are the words inspired by God. The KJV was NOT "breathed out by God" (read "inspired") in 1611. The texts that underlie it are God's inspired, preserved words. The KJV is a faithful translation of these words.

The issue has been confused by folks painting with a broad brush, assuming all KJV users are Ruckmanites or believe in some form of double inspiration. That is not, nor has it ever been true. As to referring to the GK text, I do so all the time. (I have the TR on my new Kindle--it's really cool!) The Greek and Hebrew texts give insights that are simply not evident from the English translation. I use these insights to explain the meaning at difficult points. I have no problem with clarifying words in the KJV and always exegete my New Testament passages. (The Old Testament presents more of a challenge for me since I never took Hebrew. I do my best with the conservative helps at my disposal.)

Jonathan, understand that the English translation is NOT the issue. Which text one adheres to is the main issue. Version selection comes as a natural result of adherence to one family of manuscripts or another. People who simply take the historic position that the traditional texts of Scripture are God's words are theologically sound.

Just clinging to my guns and religion... www.faithbaptistavon.com

Bob T.'s picture

With regard to the KJVO issue and also the NKJV and the KJV may I recommend the book titled; "King James Onlyism - A New Sect," by James D. Price, 2006. James Price was He was Old Testament Executive Editor and Chairman of the Executive Review committee for the NKJV. He is former professor of Hebrew and OT at Temple Baptist Seminary. He makes the point that the rejection of the NKJV by the TR only and KJvO indicates they may be disingenuine in their positions. He also answers the arguments against the NKV. James Price then states that their really is no difference between the TRO advocates and the KJVO advocates and also so with many who prefer to label themselves as KJV Preferred. This is interesting and scholarly reading.

Another book of special interest to some may be; "IN THE BEGINNING - The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture," by Alister McGrath of OXford who is recognized world wide as a historical scholar. Interestingly, I bought the book by McGrath at the West Coast Bible College book store. It has a printing added to the first page indicating that LBC and WCBC only accept the KJV and do not endorse every concept in the book. They evidently were selling it because it speaks favorably of the effect of the KJV. However, other historical facts brought out devastate the KJVO position. The book speaks of the translators loyalty to prior versions and the Kings Instructions. It also speaks to the fact that the translators were often lost in that they did not even know that the Koine Greek existed and that was what they were reading and translating. They were also often puzzled with the Hebrew text. Discovery of manuscripts with grammatical and syntactical discoveries were just starting to be made and gathered.

The King James is a very good translation with some very bad places of poor translation. Church was an ecclesiastical term that hardly gave the proper meaning of the Greek ekklesia. Bishop was an accommodation to the King and Clergy instead of the more accurate "overseer." And of course they did not translate "Baptizo" which means "immerse" but chose to transliterate it to Baptize which has no English meaning at all. Many more such examples can be given.

I bring these two books forth as they are by scholars. I read scholars and may have enough training to discern true scholarship and false, but I ma no a scholar. It takes years of teaching and research to be a textual and language scholar. Unfortunately many Pastors and some others seek to act as scholars when often they have no or little training in the necessary disciplines.

There are always those who present their arguments for the KJVO or against other translation not realizing that they do not have a grasp of all the knowledge necessary. Most KJVO and TRO writings fall into this category.

Then there are those layman and even some Pastors, who wish to defend their heritage of JVO by denying they are really that and minimizing the serious nature of the issues involved. These are enablers to those who hold the KJVO in a problematic manner. The consequences of the KJVO position are ignored.

May I resort to my often lawyerly directness? It is my personal observation that many KJVO advocates hold to their position to gain a leg up on the area churches and other brethren. Often those with little or no language training adopt this view as it appeals to being able to hold themselves out as loyalists and others, many of whom have better training, as the ones disloyal to Christ and preaching from perversions of God's word. This may also be true of the TRO advocates. These may sometime have better training but still desire that loyalist versus the disloyal perverter position. By this they gain a following based on false pretense. They are able to keep them from that which is actually more spiritually healthy but may cause loss of their followers. This may be why they fail to see their own historical and logical errors and continue to make arguments that are not logical or factually researched. Some even go so far as to reject all arguments as mere human reasoning and even postmodernism. By Common sense (or logic), this of course means that they must be other than human to advance their reasoning on this. Even their reasoning for an interpretation of scripture becomes human reasoning and therefore uncertain knowledge. That and so many other tactics may reveal a real disingenuousness.

Is this a wrong observation? You judge who is the "Pinhead" and who is the "Patriot." :bigsmile:

JG's picture

I wanted to pop in to comment. Dr. Bauder has done a disservice to Dr. Sexton.

Dr. Bauder's words are appropriate to much of the KJVO movement. We certainly should separate as readily from disobedient or doctrinally erroneous "fundamentalists" as from evangelicals. However, he used an example (Temple Baptist/Crown College) to represent a movement and then described characteristics which do not apply to his example.

Fundamentalists often do this to evangelicals. "So and So is an evangelical, and so is that guy. Evangelicals don't separate from disobedient brethren, or live separated lives, either," etc, etc. But in fact, "So and So Evangelical" often lives a purer life than many fundamentalists. We should treat neither evangelicals or "hyper-fundamentalists" in this way.

Some specific examples:

Quote:
My second observation is that the attitude displayed by the aforementioned preacher and college is genuinely contemptuous of the Word of God. If I were to declare that the King James Version was not the Word of God, then King James Only advocates would quickly and rightly excoriate me for my contempt of Scripture—regardless of my attitude toward other versions. Yet they themselves refuse to acknowledge the American Standard Version (et al.) as the Word of God.

The reason for rejecting the ASV is because they believe it contains too many errors. Rejecting a translation because one believes it contains too many errors is not contempt for the Word of God. We all reject the New World mistranslation, though it is "a 'mean' translation" which "must be regarded as God's Word" where it manages to be accurate. We may or may not disagree with Dr. Sexton's evaluation of various translations, but rejecting them because of real or perceived errors is not contempt for God's Word, but respect for it. This is falsely maligning motives, and Dr. Bauder should know better.

Quote:
A person who despises the King James has shown contempt for God’s Word. By the same token, a person who despises the NASV or the NIV has shown contempt for God’s Word.

Let me rephrase that. "A person who despises the KJV where true to the original has shown contempt for God's Word. By the same token, a person who despises the NASV or the NIV where true to the original portions of has shown contempt for God's Word."

Quote:
These King James Only advocates do not simply agree to disagree.

Bob Jones University disagrees with Dr. Sexton. Dr. Sexton preached at BJU less then two years ago. Dr. Bauder knows Dr. Sexton is willing to agree to disagree. This simply should not have been said. In fact, Dr. Bauder is the one who won't agree to disagree. Dr. Bauder, not Dr. Sexton, is the one calling for separation over disagreement on translations.

Quote:
As a matter of doctrine, the college accepts and uses only the King James Bible. For these individuals, rejecting other versions of the Word of God is so important that they feel compelled to include their rejection in their creedal affirmations.

These men believe their position is founded in the doctrine of Scriptural preservation. For them, it is doctrine. But this is a straw man -- they do not separate over everything in their doctrinal statement, nor, I suspect, does Dr. Bauder. Ian Paisley disagrees with parts of Dr. Sexton's doctrinal statement, but they shared a platform.
Quote:
In a series of videos released during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pensacola Christian College (PCC) accused several fundamentalist institutions of sinful hypocrisy for not following a King James Only position. PCC has never repented of these public attacks.
(snip)
Extreme as these pronouncements are, evangelists such as Smith and colleges such as Crown, Pensacola, and West Coast actually represent the very moderate side of the King James Only movement.

Implication -- they are all one and the same, to be lumped together and treated the same. But Dr. Bauder knows there are differences. Crown has not released videos. He is citing the behavior of some advocates of a position as reason to separate from all who hold the position. This is not right.

Quote:
(incidentally, Grady’s books—especially Final Authority: A Christian’s Guide to the King James Bible—are indispensable reading for those who wish to understand the mindset and sensibilities of the King James Only movement).

Grady does not speak for Dr. Sexton's mindset and sensibilities -- he belligerently disagrees with Dr. Sexton. I agree with Dr. Bauder far more often than I do with Clarence Sexton, but Dr. Bauder has embarked on an unseemly hatchet job in this article.

Quote:
They have set themselves up as judges over the Word of God, determining for hundreds and thousands of Christians what will and what will not be recognized as Scripture.

If Dr. Sexton has "set himself up as a judge" on translations, then Dr. Bauder has set himself up as a judge on separation -- he sets out his position and advocates for it. If that is setting oneself up as a judge, then Dr. Bauder is also guilty.

Concluding thoughts:
1. There is great diversity in the evangelical world. John Mac is not Bill Hybels. Just as fundamentalists should not lump all evangelicals together, so also we should not lump all KJVO and "hyper-fundamentalists" together, for there is also significant diversity in those "camps".
2. The real issue is divisiveness. If a KJVOer mistakenly believes only one translation has value, it is a relatively minor problem. If he is divisive, demanding that everyone agree, etc, the minor problem becomes major. But the problem isn't really his view on translations, but his divisiveness -- a problem of the heart not the head, a problem of pride.
3. In equating "hyperfundamentalists" and "neoevangelicals", Dr. Bauder has drawn a very broad brush. Since separation is not all or nothing, we separate from either group where and when we must, as we separate from conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists where we must.

Here is Dr. Bauder's key point, the place to which he has wanted to bring us all along in this article:

Quote:
If we believe in separation, we ought to be separating from hyper-fundamentalists more quickly and more publicly than we do from conservative evangelicals.

In effect, conservative evangelicals are sort-of wrong sometimes, while hyperfundies (meaning KJVO) and neos are Bad Bad Bad.

This is simply wrong. God doesn't lump people into camps and compare the camps. He sees His individual children struggling along. We separate if we must from an individual based on our understanding from Scripture of what pleases God the most in our dealings with them.

Whether Bob Gray, Mike Cocoris, Rod Bell, Billy Graham, Joe Zichtermann, or you or me, our response to a professing brother who deviates from the Word should be the same, whatever their "camp". It is the nature of their stumble and their response to it that should drive our response to them.

There is no reason to fully separate from anyone simply because of his view on translations. There is abundant reason to separate because of pride/pre-eminence seeking and/or divisiveness -- but there are proud and divisive people on both sides of the translations question.

Jonathan Charles's picture

Pastor Marc Monte wrote:
...Jonathan, understand that the English translation is NOT the issue. Which text one adheres to is the main issue. Version selection comes as a natural result of adherence to one family of manuscripts or another. People who simply take the historic position that the traditional texts of Scripture are God's words are theologically sound.

I suppose I am painting with a broad brush, the brush needs to be a little narrower, but some KJV-only believers do believe that it and it alone is God's Word for English speaking people today and then they bring up the text issue. If the texts are the issue then they ought to be open to another translation based on the same texts, but when these just summarily dismiss the NKJV it leads me to believe that that texts really aren't the issue.

Jonathan Charles's picture

I got an e-mail about the NKJV not being translated from the same O.T. text as the KJV. Here is James D. Price's response to that (part of a letter he wrote to Gail Riplinger in 1994):

The Hebrew Text of the NKJV Old Testament
On page 594 you state that

The NKJV and all new versions have abandoned the traditional Old Testament Hebrew, Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text, and followed Rudolph Kittel’s 1937 corruption of Biblia Hebraica Leningrad Ms B 19a.

This statement is false in several respects. First of all, the NKJV followed the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text not Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica (1937). The preface to the NKJV Open Bible Edition states

For the New King James Version the text used was the 1967/1977 Stuttgart edition of Biblia Hebraica, based on the ben Asher text, while frequent comparisons were made with the Bomberg edition of 1524-25.

What you evidently do not know is that the Bomberg edition of 1524-25 is the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text. Furthermore, the differences between the Bomberg Ben Chayyim edition and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1967/77) are microscopic. In the eight places where the difference had an effect on translation, the NKJV followed Ben Chayyim, not Stuttgart. Here are the eight differences:

Stuttgart Bomberg (KJV, NKJV)
Prov 8:16 righteousness earth
Isa 10:16 the Lord, the LORD the Lord, the Lord of hosts
of hosts
Isa 27:2 a pleasant vineyard a vineyard of red wine
Isa 38:14 the Lord the LORD
Jer 34:1 Nebuchadrezzar Nebuchadnezzar
Ezek 30:18 be held back be darkened
Zeph 3:15 fear disaster see disaster
Mal 1:12 Lord LORD

Rudolph Kittel did not corrupt the Biblia Hebraica Leningrad Ms B 19a, as your statement asserts. The Leningrad manuscript (Ms) B 19a is a complete manuscript of the ben Asher Masoretic Text dated about A.D. 1008. It is regarded as perhaps the most faithful copy of the Masoretic Text, the Textus Receptus of the Hebrew Bible. Kittel’s 1937 edition of Biblia Hebraica was a faithful printed reproduction of the Leningrad B 19a manuscript. Far from corrupting B 19a, as you wrote, he made its text available. The more recent Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1966/77) is an improved edition of B 19a, making it more faithful to B 19a in all of its microscopic minutia.
But regardless of these details, as former executive editor of the NKJV Old Testament, I can confidently assure you that the NKJV followed, as carefully as possible, the Bobmerg 1524-25 Ben Chayyim edition that the KJV 1611 translators used--I personally made sure. So, sad to say, again using uninformed sources, and without checking, you have misinformed your unsuspecting readers and done a gross disservice to the NKJV.

Pastor Marc Monte's picture

Dr. Bauder's latest article carries with it some very serious implications. If anyone who uses the KJV for reasons other than his own is a "hyper fundamentalist" and worthy of separation, the list of folks from which one should separate becomes large indeed. Let me give some examples:

1. According to Bauder, one should separate from the following colleges: Ambassador, Crown, West Coast, Golden State, Indiana Baptist College, PCC, Baptist College of Ministry (Majority Text) and Heartland Baptist Bible College. Graduates of these schools number into the tens of thousands, yet they are all suspect of "hyper-fundamentalism."
2. Bob Jones University has failed to practice Biblical separation because of inclusion of Traditional Text speakers such as Clarence Sexton and Ian Paisley. In the past, some BJU faculty have held to the traditional texts as well. According to Dr. Bauder, these should--apparently--be fired.
3. All of the works of John Calvin (the Reformer) are fundamentally suspect, since--in Bauder's view--he was a hyper-fundamentalist who clung tenaciously to the traditional texts, having the audacity to believe they were the very words of God.
4. If, as Bauder asserts, the so-called "hyper fundamentalist" is as bad as the New Evangelical, then it becomes the responsibility of the fundamentalist remnant to name and denounce these men and institutions as heretical. Before anyone picks up torches and pitchforks, remember that you will be going after godly men such as Dr. Ron Comfort, Dr. Clinton Branine, and Dr. Sam Davison--just to name three. I wouldn't want to stand at the judgment seat having condemned their ministries!
5. Perhaps what bothers me the most is that some will feel compelled to separate from me. I stand for the traditional texts of Scripture (just like EVERY christian did prior to the late 1800's) and preach from the KJV (As many have done for almost 400 years). Now, having done what every christian always did, I somehow become a heretic--worse than that, a theological criminal. If I dare to defend my position from a textual, historic, or theological standpoint, I am a dreaded hyper-fundamentalist. (Notice that Kevin's preference for the KJV is based squarely upon sentiment and no one seems to question it.) By the way, I can be somewhat animated in my preaching, but few would call me "hyper." I'm actually kind of sluggish sometimes.

My use of the King James Bible is based upon my faith in the traditional texts of Scripture--the ones in which the church always believed. And, just in case you're wondering, God seems to bless preaching from that book. We had over 700 in church on Sunday morning, 15-20 adult professions of faith, and numerous decisions at the altar. I say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Just clinging to my guns and religion... www.faithbaptistavon.com

Pastor Marc Monte's picture

OK, guys--where are the replies to my last post? I posted a few minutes ago and I expected some interaction. Nothing so far...not a peep...not a blip...just nothing. Wait, maybe you've all listened to Dr. Bauder and are now separating from me! Now I'm really worried. I don't think I'll sleep a wink. I'm getting nervous just thinking about it! I know! I know what my problem is! Are you ready for this...really ready??? I think I'm suffering from..here it is...SEPARATION ANXIETY!

Hope you got a good laugh. I did!

Just clinging to my guns and religion... www.faithbaptistavon.com

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Pastor Marc Monte wrote:
I wouldn't want to stand at the judgment seat having condemned their ministries!

And therein lies the very problem Bauder is treating. Personally, I would not want to stand at the judgement seat having endorsed the ministries with which I am familiar in your post.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Brent Belford's picture

I want to thank you for your excellent work in this entire series and this last post. Thank you for your willingness to deal with this matter.

Brent Belford

Pastor Marc Monte's picture

Chip, this is the first time (to my knowledge) that I have been criticized for being too broad in my endorsements. Folks typically view me as a conservative voice when I post on Sharperiron. Now, however, it appears I am endorsing questionable institutions. That's a new one for me!

To take my analysis of Bauder's thoughts to their logical end, I wonder--based upon his criteria for fundamentalism--if I still qualify to post on this blog. Bloggers are asked to agree with Sharperiron's statement of faith. I wonder--given my new status as a hyper-fundamentalist--if I am still welcome. I WOULD LIKE A MODERATOR TO CHIME IN ON THIS. I'm not being sarcastic; I'm simply wondering if Kevin's new separatism applies to me--a simple believer in the traditional texts of Scripture.

Just clinging to my guns and religion... www.faithbaptistavon.com

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

SI publishes articles for discussion, but those articles do not 'define' SI or who can participate at SI. The only requirements for participation are that you agree with the Doctrinal Statement and to abide by the Comment Policy. Being KJVO or KJVP, however you want to describe your belief on this topic, does not preclude your participation. There are mods who are KJVO/P also, myself included.

Pastor Marc Monte's picture

Whew! Thanks for the affirmation. See, everybody? I'm still a fundamentalist..and the top brass of sharperiron confirms it! Smile

Just clinging to my guns and religion... www.faithbaptistavon.com

B-Lowry's picture

"Let a man so account of vs, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreouer, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithfull. But with mee it is a very small thing that I should bee iudged of you, or of mans iudgement: yea, I iudge not mine owne selfe. For I know nothing by my selfe, yet am I not hereby iustified: but hee that iudgeth me is the Lord. Therefore iudge nothing before the time, vntill the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkenesse, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall euery man haue prayse of God." (I Corinthians 4:1-5 from KJV 1611)

If one's conscience is clear, then he can safely leave the "iudgement" to the Lord and receive "prayse" from God, and not worry about what other Fundamentalists of whatever ilk think (which praise I gather from the comments above is the least of Marc's concerns).

Kevin said, "Since I highly esteem the King James Version of the Bible, then what is my disagreement with the King James Only movement? Between us lie two bones of contention, two questions that must be answered. The first is, how do we regard other versions of the Bible? The second is, does the use of the King James fall under the category of personal preference or under the category of doctrine?"

As far as I can see, the comments have addressed the first bone of contention, that is, "how do we regard other versions of the Bible?"

How should the difference between "personal preference" and "doctrine" come into play here? In other words, into which of these categories is the use of the KJV (1611 or any of its revisions) or another updated version to be placed? This has been touched upon, but I would like to see more discussion of its implications in this and other areas.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Just a reminder of what Kevin's thesis here is...

KB wrote:
The error of the King James Only movement is opposite but equal to the error of the new evangelicalism. The new evangelicals wanted to remove the fundamentals (i.e., the gospel) as the boundary of Christian fellowship. The King James Only movement wishes to add to the fundamentals (i.e., the gospel) as the boundary of Christian fellowship.

This is an interesting idea. I'm personally not yet convinced that the two are quite parallel. But I'm open to persuasion. That they are disturbingly close to parallel, I can't deny.

Marc wrote:
... See, everybody? I'm still a fundamentalist..and the top brass of sharperiron confirms it!

Marc, I'm not sure how seriously to take this, but it may be an example of what you've been doing in other posts in the thread and an example of what Kevin addresses early in the article. How to put it... let's say more precision in your reasoning would be helpful. Kevin's example is that when he criticizes KJVO positions people leap to the conclusion that he is anti KJV. Similarly, the fact that SI accepts someone as a registered user does not mean we are saying that person is a fundamentalist. It means that person is "a fundamentalist for the purposes of the site." We've repeatedly rejected any claim to have a right to define what fundamentalism is for anyone else.

But back to the KJV issue, you make the very same error in your first post...

Quote:
Simply stated, the KJV remains the most faithful translation of the traditional texts of Scripture. Those who hold to the traditional texts are not criminals or theological weirdos. In fact, all of the Reformers, including Dr. Bauder's beloved John Calvin, believed the traditional texts of Scripture to be the very words of God! Holding to the traditional texts of scripture is...well...traditional--meaning that ALL BELIEVERS accepted them as God's Word until a some scholars came around and said otherwise.

My ignoring the NKJV doesn't make mean I hold to double inspiration any more than Kevin Bauder's liking of John Calvin makes him an adherent to the traditional texts. Such thinking is emotionally charged but logically fallacious.


Nobody is saying that those who "hold to the traditional texts" are criminals or theological wierdos.
Nobody is saying that the traditional texts are not God's word.
Nobody is saying that if you "ignore" the NKJV you hold to double inspiration.
(At least nobody was when you wrote the post... I skipped a few of the subsequent posts)

So how about interacting with what folks are actually saying?

JG... I think he has an excellent point. But I don't completely agree. That is, I agree that if the motive for using KJV exclusively is that you believe it to have fewer errors, that's not despising the word of God. However, putting it in a doctrinal statement is still--as Kevin argues--highly problematic. There is an unintended despising of the word of God in the elevation of KJV exclusivity as a matter of doctrine.

It would be so, so much better to put in the doctrinal statement something like this:

We believe the word of God deserves to be studied and read in the most precise and accurate of translations and we believe the KJV represents that in English at the present time.

To put this in a doctrinal statement still elevates it too much, but at least it says "it's about accuracy" and says hypothetically that if something more accurate came along, it would be better.

To me, the latter is the acid test of true motivation. If it's really about "too many errors" in the alternatives, are they open to studying new alternatives as they come along to see if they might have fewer errors? To me, being unwilling to even look at what might be more accurate is indeed despising the Word.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Marc,

Based on what you are saying here about your position, I wonder if you are included in what Kevin is saying. He is not talking about those who prefer the traditional texts (though claiming the church has used them fro 1800 years is, at best, beyond the evidence, and in fact probably contrary to the evidence, but that's another discussion).

I suppose my questions for you are these:

  1. Is the KJV completely completely perfect in any issue of translation (whether word, grammar, etc)?
  2. Would you accept another English translation based on the Traditional Text?
  3. Do you believe that versions like the NASB and ESV are the Word of God?

    If your answers are No and Yes and Yes (which is what they should be, according to the Bible itself), then I don't think you are who Kevin is referring to.

    It is clear that there are a lot of people out there who Kevin is targeting who have in fact denied the Bible's teaching about itself and raised another fundamental in terms of bibliology. In so doing, they have lied about the Bible and about God himself (perhaps with good intentions, which of course doesn't make it okay). Having 700 in church and 15-20 professions of faith does not make that okay either. It is way past time for us to separate from these kinds of people. And many of us have done this already. Kevin simply has a platform to say what many of have long said, which is that the Bible commands us to separate from those with aberrant doctrine. And bibliology must be right near the top of that list, right?

    What strikes me though is that you claim you wouldn't want to sit in judgment of these men's ministries, but yet you have no problem sitting in judgment of other men's ministries, men whose problems are far less significant than denying or adding to the Bible's teaching on itself (or some of the other things going on in these ministries). So I wonder why you are comfortable judging some ministries and not other's? Someone like John MacArthur (just to pick a name out of the hat) has had far more influence and ministry success for the gospel than any of the men you mention, and likely more than all of them put together. Yet, I imagine that you have no problem sitting in judgment on his ministry. I wonder if you might help me understand your thinking on this.

    Thanks,

DavidO's picture

(with apologies to Dr. Bauder for continuing an off topic line of discussion)

Pastor Marc Monte wrote:
The KJV was NOT "breathed out by God" (read "inspired") in 1611. The texts that underlie it are God's inspired, preserved words. The KJV is a faithful translation of these words.

So you believe that God inspired (and preserved) portions of the Bible in Latin?

Preface to The New Testament in the Original Greek, edited by Scrivener, published 1881, wrote:
In considering what text had the best right to be regarded as “the text presumed to underlie the “Authorised Version,” it was necessary to take into account the composite nature of the Authorised Version , as due to successive revisions of Tyndale’s translation . . .

There are however many places in which the Authorised Version is at variance with Beza’s text; chiefly because it retains language inherited from Tyndale or his successors...

On the other hand some of the readings followed, though discrepant from Beza’s text, may have seemed to be in a manner sanctioned by him, as he had spoken favourably of them in his notes...

It was manifestly necessary to accept only Greek authority, though in some places the Authorised Version corresponds but loosely with any form of the Greek original, while it follows exactly the Latin Vulgate.

Dave Doran's picture

Thank you Pastor Monte for providing that link. I think it is quite helpful in supporting Dr. Bauder's basic premise and for showing the lengths to which certain folks will go to secure co-belligerents. It's another lowlight for Lou to side with KJVO defenders in order to attack Bauder.

It might be better to give that link a thread of its own if genuine critique and defense of it opens up. There is a lot there that warrants the former. Since you're a product of Fourth Baptist and hold Doc Clearwaters in high esteem, maybe you should lead off by showing that nothing in the Clearwaters quotes he offers contradicts the ones that Dr. Bauder set forth. Evangelist Smith leaves us with the impression that Doc Clearwaters spoke out of both sides of his mouth and that shouldn't be allowed to stand. You and I both know that Doc was brighter than that, but it seems Mr. Smith needs some help seeing that he is misusing the Clearwaters quotes which he provides.

DMD

JG's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
That is, I agree that if the motive for using KJV exclusively is that you believe it to have fewer errors, that's not despising the word of God. However, putting it in a doctrinal statement is still--as Kevin argues--highly problematic. There is an unintended despising of the word of God in the elevation of KJV exclusivity as a matter of doctrine.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Aaron. I'd like to explore this a little further, though I have to give advance notice I may have to drop out of the discussion anytime. I'd like to put a couple points to this for your consideration, if you have the time.

1. Would you consider it problematic if someone included in their doctrinal statement the position that "we use only accurate translations and do not use paraphrases as the Word of God"? I'm assuming you wouldn't. You might not do it yourself, but it is putting theology into practice. What if someone said, "We believe verbal inspiration calls for formal equivalence in translation, and so we do not use or accept the NIV in our church/school because of its broad use of dynamic equivalence"? You might not agree with such a position, but is it really a big problem? It's an application of doctrine.

For a church, statements on translations are probably better in a policy statement than a doctrinal statement, but I'm not sure I see any real Biblical basis for a huge distinction between the two. We all know broadly what Clarence Sexton believes and teaches on translations no matter which piece of paper explains it. Is there any Biblical basis for saying a doctrinal statement is worse than a policy statement? What matters on this is what he teaches and his actions towards others. If he is teaching that the 1611 translators were inspired, that is an error from which I would separate. If his actions towards others demonstrate a divisive spirit towards those who disagree with him on texts and translations, again, I would find that a separation matter.

I remain just about 100% persuaded that Dr. Bauder's real objection is not which church document contains the statement, but rather that Dr. Sexton teaches the position he teaches. That is ultimately what Dr. Bauder and others who hold a different view find objectionable, whether it is in a doctrinal statement, a policy statement, or completely unwritten.

2. As to "unintended despising" of the Word of God, we are all guilty of intentional or unintentional despite of the Word virtually every day. Dr. Bauder was guilty of this when he failed to speak the truth in love in asserting that Dr. Sexton is not willing to agree to disagree. If we make "unintentional despite of God's Word" a separation offense, then I'd better separate from everyone unless they appropriately separate from me first.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
To me, the latter is the acid test of true motivation. If it's really about "too many errors" in the alternatives, are they open to studying new alternatives as they come along to see if they might have fewer errors? To me, being unwilling to even look at what might be more accurate is indeed despising the Word.

Again, I have a couple thoughts.

1. Motivation tests make me nervous. In general, we are to be charitable in what we believe of brothers (I Cor. 13:7), whether KJVOers, evangelicals, or fundies. We need to separate where someone's actions force us to, but I'm not sure I see Scripture telling us to deduce motives and separate accordingly. Sometimes a person's motives are clearly stated (in which case the statement of wrong motives becomes an action we must evaluate). Usually, actions are driven by a mix of motives, and jumping into the "motives game" is a pretty doubtful exercise.

2. To a traditional texter, there are really only two significant translations to choose from. If one has concluded that the NKJV is inferior, the decision has been made. Being "unwilling to even look at" Critical Text-based translations is entirely appropriate if one is persuaded that the CT is the wrong text.

I have heard that Dr. Sexton at times refers to the Greek in his preaching. I'm loathe to assume that someone who does that has concluded that it is theoretically impossible for any improvement in translations, even if he thinks no current translations have succeeded in improving on the KJV.

All this appears to me a very slender reed on which to not only separate but advocate "separating more quickly". There are reasons to limit our associations with Dr. Sexton to those places where we are in general agreement. There are reasons to limit our cooperation with conservative evangelicals as well. If separation were "all or nothing", perhaps we would cut off all contact with both. I Corinthians 5 and II Thessalonians 3 provide for almost "all or nothing" separation. But I see nothing that requires me to consider either Clarence Sexton or Al Mohler (for instance) in that category, and Dr. Bauder has not made the case.

Those who want to separate from Dr. Sexton (or want others to do so) will applaud this article. So also those who want to have closer ties to conservative evangelicals will like his ranking of the "badness" of the different camps. Those who know they often have to separate but don't like to do so from any brother, especially brothers who are obviously committed to the Gospel, may feel differently, and will want something more substantive than "he mentioned translations in his doctrinal statement, and I disagree with what he said!"

If Dr. Sexton truly has been divisive in his actions over the translation, or if he has other doctrinal positions or ethical/moral problems which demand separation, then by all means, let us separate. But in calling for us to separate from him, I would like to see some actual evidence of wrongdoing, beyond differences over translations.

As usual, I've probably been too long-winded. Sorry about that. Smile

Greg Long's picture

Pastor Monte, you chastise the NKJV for having textual variants noted in the margins. Do you know that the original KJV does the same?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Marc, do you agree with/endorse Smith's statement?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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