John Vaughn: Whither from Here? A Way Forward on the Text and Version Issue

33206 reads

There are 118 Comments

RickyHorton's picture

In my opinion, any time you have a translation listed in your doctrinal statement (regardless of the translation), then you have major issues.  Our church was looking for a pastor a couple years ago.  Any time a doctrinal statement was sent to us that had a translation listed, we set it to the side and never looked at it again.  I don't think it's coincidence either that the only tranlsation ever listed in any of them was the KJV.

Bob Nutzhorn's picture

It is odd timing after this summers inclusion of Sexton/Crown College in the annual meeting. After visiting Faith in Taylors, SC this summer, it seems to me that Vaughn's church and the home of Frontline is becoming more KJV only, not less. They had Crown College in on the Sunday night I was there, and the Sunday School class I attended made a comment about "those ESV churches." Their current pastor came from a church with a pretty strong KJV stance, although the doctrinal statement is not on their site now. From what I understand, Faith is an only KJV church at this point - purposefully setting themselves apart from other churches in the area that have moved away from being as strict conservative in their ways.

Jay's picture

After visiting Faith in Taylors, SC this summer, it seems to me that Vaughn's church and the home of Frontline is becoming more KJV only, not less. They had Crown College in on the Sunday night I was there, and the Sunday School class I attended made a comment about "those ESV churches." 

I suspected this a few years ago, and have hypothesized that the close ties with Sexton and other strong KJV Only churches in the FBFI are actually pulling the organization hard to the right.  After all, there doesn't seem to be much room or sympathy for those who don't fit in with the traditional fundamentalism (witness the NIU discussions right now), and the fact that there aren't a lot of the younger, more moderate people in the group means that those who are more conservative will get louder and more prominent say.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

WilliamD's picture

Jay wrote:
.... and the fact that there aren't a lot of the younger, more moderate people in the group means that those who are more conservative will get louder and more prominent say.

Let them die out and isolate themselves from everyone else. Christianity is the better without that kind of Fundamentalism anyway. 

Mike Harding's picture

Bob,

I appreciate your comment.  Cornerstone Baptist Church, headed by Dr. Gary Reimers, is one of those ESV churches.  It is one of the most sound, godly, balanced, expositional, and separated churches in all of Greenville.  Community Baptist in Greer is like unto it, lead by Dr. Whitcomb.  I have numerous families from our church who are now active members in these churches and Dr. Minnick's church who uses NASB.  The comments, if accurate, which came out of Faith are unfortunate, but may reflect the new direction of the church under their new leadership.  If this becomes the defacto position of the FBFI, it would be a major setback for us.  Say it ain't so!  By the way, the BJU bookstore sells hundreds of ESV translations as well as NKJV and NASB.  FBCT has used NASB for 25 years, but we also use ESV in some of our services.  It is a very beautiful, literal, and accurate translation of God's Word.  Could become the next KJV in the years to come.

Pastor Mike Harding

Todd Wood's picture

I would imagine that independent Baptist pastors who fellowship within the FBF receive materials from BJU, Maranatha, Pensacola, Crown, and West Coast, etc. 

This will always be an issue among independent Baptists in America.

 

Steve Newman's picture

I'm a pastor.I use the KJV. I even preach from the KJV. But yet, because I am not TR only, or KJV only, the KJV only mafia creates such a fear and "single issue" mentality that I and my church are not "KJV only enough" for them. They are doing a good job of driving people away from the KJV.

Bob Nutzhorn's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

By the way, the BJU bookstore sells hundreds of ESV translations as well as NKJV and NASB.  FBCT has used NASB for 25 years, but we also use ESV in some of our services.  It is a very beautiful, literal, and accurate translation of God's Word.  Could become the next KJV in the years to come.

I think that is why I was so surprised to see all of that. It will be interesting to see where the FBF is in ten years.

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

The FBFI hath demonstrated the superfluity of forebearance on this issue.

Todd Wood's picture

Joe, you got me.  I am laughing out here in Idaho.

Steve, we got different issues out here.  In my town, we got over 100 congregations that all use the KJV.  They are all LDS.

I like the KJV.  I preach from the NKJV.  In study, I usually consult my ESV Study Bible and my NLT Study Bible.  Lately, if I read from another translation while teaching in a small Bible study, I go back to the beginning by reading Tyndale (modern spelling). 

If I was in jail and allowed only one N.T., I would want my Tyndale Bible.

Bert Perry's picture

Those who tell people with a fifth grade reading level in modern English to try and read their Bible in the 11th grade reading level, Elizabethan/Jacobian (or pre-Elizabethan) KJV ought to consider that the LSD  LDS church notes that it is God's word "insofar as it is correctly translated."  In other words, they're using the KJV specifically for the obscurities in translation as far as the modern ear is concerned.  Those in KJVO churches (not LDS) ought to ask themselves whether their pastor is using a somewhat difficult translation for the exact same reason--it makes it harder for the congregation to check him like the Bereans did.

Love the KJV, but let's not forget for a moment that most of us are not fluent in Elizabethan.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

JohnBrian's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
It is a very beautiful, literal, and accurate translation of God's Word.  Could become the next KJV in the years to come.

I grew up on the KJV and whenever I need to search Bible Gateway for a verse I usually use the KJV because I am more familiar with it. When I was pastoring, my preaching Bible was a Thompson Chain that my wife bought for me years ago, after the TC that was my dad's (given to him in 1966) wore out. I mentioned in a Sunday service how much I would like to have a TC- NKJV and a few weeks later one appeared on the front pew of the church anonymously (although I knew which couple had placed it there).

I presently carry a thinline NKJV to church, but since my eyesight is getting worse with each passing year, I generally use the ESV on my phone during the service. I guess I could leave my Bible at home but I'm sure that I would feel undressed walking into church without a Bible in my hand.

I agree with Mike that the ESV is likely to become the primary Bible in the not too distant future.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

TylerR's picture

Editor

Within the next few years, I'll likely be leading the congregation to switch to either the ESV or NKJV. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Tyler, I made those transitions myself - KJV - NKJV - ESV. While the NKJV was admittedly easier to use than the KJ, the ESV has been an exponentially better step, particularly for use with my kids. My wife and I were both raised in Christian homes going to Christian schools and churches that used the KJ, and we did not switch until we were in our mid-30's, but even with our extensive background in the KJ, after only a handful of years, it is awkward to go back to the KJ. I have been shocked at how much easier it is. Our current pastor still preaches from the KJ, but we have a running joke counting how many begins to explain words in the passage by using synonyms that are actually part of our ESV translation. Seems much more efficient to skip right to the chase.

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

Joe Whalen's picture

By the grace of God, we were able to lead the church that I pastor from using the KJV to using ESV for public reading and preaching.  The transition was, frankly, a blast.  God's people enjoyed learning about the history of the transmission of His Word down through the ages.  They were quick to learn about the various strengths and weaknesses of translations.  People grew in their love for God and His Word as we prepared for and worked through the transition.

The number 1 comment I received by those who switched their daily reading from the KJV to the ESV was, "I am understanding so much more now."  The second-place comment was, "We should have done this years ago."

Chip -- per the explaining words issue: some in our church prefer and bring their NIV's while I preach from my ESV.  After the service, those with the NIV will often say that their NIV already had what I spent time explaining.  

Mike Harding's picture

Just finished reading the articles on preservation in FRONTLINE. Some articles simply asked questions with no definitive answers.  I thought the articles had political overtones as opposed to making the case for preservation and what that preservation means.  The best articles on this subject will be found in the DBTS Theological Journal.  The level of scholarship and detail is very high comparatively.  Again, there was no substantive attempt to recommend other reliable translations of Scripture other than the KJV. It was very interesting to me that Dr. Minnick did not submit an article on the textual debate.  Dr. Minnick, a well-respected member of the FBFI board, is perhaps the best textual scholar on the board.  His chapters in "Mind of God to the Mind of Man" and "God's Word in our Hands" are simply outstanding.  How could the editor of FRONTLINE overlook that?

Pastor Mike Harding

Ron Bean's picture

What does acceptance of other reliable translations look like? It's good to see members of the FBFI using good translations in their churches, acceptance will be real when someone preaches from another version at a group meeting; ideally with Clarence Sexton in attendance.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Mark_Smith's picture

All of you that have transitioned to ESV for example (not so much for NKJV):

Which is the most important to you, the contemporary language, or the verses that have been modified or removed compared to the KJV? In other words, is the key issue the language, or textual criticism? 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

All of you that have transitioned to ESV for example (not so much for NKJV):

Which is the most important to you, the contemporary language, or the verses that have been modified or removed compared to the KJV? In other words, is the key issue the language, or textual criticism? 

For me, accurate technical criticism is the more technically important issue. For this reason, I would rather use a NASB, which is modern but so literal in its translation that the reading becomes difficult, over a number of the less accurate but highly modernized translations like the CEV. 

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

Bert Perry's picture

Joe Whalen wrote:

The number 1 comment I received by those who switched their daily reading from the KJV to the ESV was, "I am understanding so much more now."  The second-place comment was, "We should have done this years ago."

Chip -- per the explaining words issue: some in our church prefer and bring their NIV's while I preach from my ESV.  After the service, those with the NIV will often say that their NIV already had what I spent time explaining.  

That last sentence about NIV readers saying that it says what one just spent time explaining illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of the more idiomatic translation method of the NIV.  The strength is that readers get to the point quicker--I'm told that some of the translation choices in the NIV are in fact conforming to evangelical, dispensational theology.  The corresponding weakness is that readers don't get to do the work to get there, and one can--per Mark's comment about the NIV 2011 changing the gender of some pronouns--be misled by some of the translation choices.

I started with the NIV, migrated to the NKJV about 2000 and really loved the fact that there was a lot more to chew on.  Have been reading NKJV/KJV/Geneva for about the past 5-7 years, along with a modernized Luther translation.  I can endorse the old NIV for those with a lower reading level, but in light of the changes made in gender of pronouns and such claimed in the 2011, am reluctant to endorse that one.  It seems to cross a line from legitimate translation methods into outright falsification of the text for me.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Rob Fall's picture

It seems to me many here will accept nothing less than total capitulation or unconditional surrender on their (in many cases almost minimal or tangential) use of the AV 1611.  Yes, I'm being hyperbolic if not facetious.

But, I know at HSBC we use the KJV as our pew Bible though Pastor Innes has used the NASB for decades.  Our bookstore sells the KJV, NKJV, and the NASB on an equal footing.  Seemingly for many here that puts us on the same bench as Mr. Sexton and others to his right.  [facetiousness on]What will satisfy y'all, the trashing of KJV Bibles?[facetiousness off]

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Ron Bean's picture

I did not mean to imply that we ought to quit preaching from the KJV.     

Personally I've done the Bible Version pilgrimage, including KJVP, TRO, to Majority Text. I currently preach from the ESV and study from a 1599 Geneva.

What I was trying to address is the almost passive-aggressive stance of some KJV people in which they will tolerate those who use other versions but expect/demand the KJV in public meetings in which they are involved.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:
All of you that have transitioned to ESV for example (not so much for NKJV):

Which is the most important to you, the contemporary language, or the verses that have been modified or removed compared to the KJV? In other words, is the key issue the language, or textual criticism? 

I think I know where you are going with this, but for me it is the language.  

I grew up and was trained on the KJV.  After I started doing my first greek translations, I used the NASB to check my work and was very surprised at how closely they matched up, so I switched to the NASB for my personal study eventually (both NIU and BJU required memorization from the KJV in their classes). While in seminary at BJU, a couple of my friends, on different occasions, encouraged me to try the ESV.  I checked a copy out from the library and started reading it - I switched over a few months later.

For me, there is almost no point in spending time explaining textual nuance and re-translating the text into modern English for the classes I teach.  So my philosophy is that making sure that they can understand the English text trumps concerns over which textual family is best and those types of discussions. Having participated in the KJV forum here, especially in the earlier years, has led me to believe that concerns about the 'correct' textual family is usually a red herring for someone who is either pugnacious or schismatic.  

I don't like everything about the ESV, and there are at least two issues I would change if I had the power too, but it's my mainstay translation.  I've checked into a few other versions and like the HCSB very much, but I am not planning on making yet another change.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

Let's stick with the ESV so we aren't wandering around. What is the more important feature about the ESV to you (or anyone else who cares to respond):

1- That it is written in contemporary English

2- That it uses the modern critical text of the Greek NT so that, just as an example, Matthew 20:16 has "for many be called, but few chosen" removed and NOT EVEN FOOTNOTED that this phrase is present in some texts. This implies that the TR/MT and the KJV is plain WRONG and in error...this phrase was never supposed to be in the Bible.

 

I am NOT trying to rehash textual criticism, I am looking at it from what is your motivation for using the ESV, the language or textual criticism (or both), and how does "missing verses or verse fragments" impact your congregation, if at all.

Lee's picture

Interesting that, as far as this discussion goes, one of the main concerns with the FBF statement isin  not recommending a "reliable" translation. Where does a non-church entity have the "elder authority" to recommend to any local assembly or its membership body which translation it should be using or considering? That appears to me to be a matter under the jurisdiction of the eldership of the local assembly.

What was stated was that as a fellowship entity they recognize that fellowship is not limited to being around the KJV but around scripture.  That is a legitimate statement that does not impose upon a local assembly that which legitimately belongs only to that assembly and its elders.

 

Lee

Mark_Smith's picture

I would guess almost everyone is picking the ESV, NASB, NKJV for the language, not because they are particularly beholden to the critical text as the "correct" text. My question then is why not footnote the differences from the historic text rather than act like nothing has happened with these critical textual decisions to leave out verses or parts of verses.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jay wrote:

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

All of you that have transitioned to ESV for example (not so much for NKJV):

 

Which is the most important to you, the contemporary language, or the verses that have been modified or removed compared to the KJV? In other words, is the key issue the language, or textual criticism? 

 

I think I know where you are going with this, but for me it is the language.  

I grew up and was trained on the KJV.  After I started doing my first greek translations, I used the NASB to check my work and was very surprised at how closely they matched up, so I switched to the NASB for my personal study eventually (both NIU and BJU required memorization from the KJV in their classes). While in seminary at BJU, a couple of my friends, on different occasions, encouraged me to try the ESV.  I checked a copy out from the library and started reading it - I switched over a few months later.

For me, there is almost no point in spending time explaining textual nuance and re-translating the text into modern English for the classes I teach.  So my philosophy is that making sure that they can understand the English text trumps concerns over which textual family is best and those types of discussions. Having participated in the KJV forum here, especially in the earlier years, has led me to believe that concerns about the 'correct' textual family is usually a red herring for someone who is either pugnacious or schismatic.  

I don't like everything about the ESV, and there are at least two issues I would change if I had the power too, but it's my mainstay translation.  I've checked into a few other versions and like the HCSB very much, but I am not planning on making yet another change.

Jay,

I have liked what I have seen in the HCSB also, but, like you, I don't intend to switch again.

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

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Let's stick with the ESV so we aren't wandering around. What is the more important feature about the ESV to you (or anyone else who cares to respond):

1- That it is written in contemporary English

2- That it uses the modern critical text of the Greek NT so that, just as an example, Matthew 20:16 has "for many be called, but few chosen" removed and NOT EVEN FOOTNOTED that this phrase is present in some texts. This implies that the TR/MT and the KJV is plain WRONG and in error...this phrase was never supposed to be in the Bible.

 

I am NOT trying to rehash textual criticism, I am looking at it from what is your motivation for using the ESV, the language or textual criticism (or both), and how does "missing verses or verse fragments" impact your congregation, if at all.

Ok Mark. From that vantage point, the language is more important me. I am inclined to believe the TR is not the best Greek NT, but the variations are inconsequential and do not affect any doctrine as a whole (meaning you may have to find new proof texts if your "favorite" proof text is debatable, but all doctrinal content remains the same given the entire book). I use the same arguments that were given 30 years ago to support the use of new translations to now support continued acceptance of the KJ on a textual basis. 

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

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I think it's obvious that different people have different motivations in the KJV debate.  Personally, I'm still KJV preferred, even though I attend an ESV church.  But it's not just because I am used to that translation (and I am, at least in non-obscure passages), but because I personally am "traditional text preferred," or maybe "Byzantine-priority."  I generally believe that text stream to be the more accurate one (though because even that stream lacks perfection in all copies, I don't hold TR-only or perfect preservation views).  If I ever thought there were doctrinal differences between the text families, I would want a translation from the traditional text to be the one I use for the "final say."

Still, I do use and study other versions (including those from the other texts), not because of the text, but because of readability and understandability (especially in the prophets).  I don't use the NASB much any more, but I still use the ESV, NIV (1984), NKJV, Luther, Elberfelder, and even for light reading, the NLT.  And for a completely new convert, my attitude comes down to this: regardless of any differences in the text, an NIV that is actually read and used by someone is far more valuable than a KJV that is reverenced, but not read or understood.

To Rob's comment: while there may be some here on SI who are antagonistic to any use of the KJV, that's not been my experience with the vast majority of commenters.

Dave Barnhart

Pages