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

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I am still at unable to

I am still at unable to understand how this stated position:

Accordingly, the use of any trustworthy translation of the Scriptures is not a matter of separation for FBFI. 

reconciles with the ongoing practice of the FBFI providing membership and speaking opportunities to those who openly declare that the KJ is the only acceptable English version of the Bible. 

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

Seems to me

It seems to me that the best way forward on the KJV issue is to stop making it an issue.  That being said, good for the FBFI for finally coming out and saying that this is not going to be an issue for them moving forward.

If people wants to judge you over your favorite Bible version, they usually can be describes as "divisive" and "schismatic" categories.  Go read the old KJV forum threads here.

"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

Spokesman

Jim,

As an FBFI executive board member I have been using NASB as our main text in our church for 25 years.  Books such as "From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man" and "God's Word In Our Hands" were written in large part by FBFI board members and those books were heavily advertised by the FBFI.  Those books endorsed translations such as NKJV, NASB, and ESV.  Also, some excellent resolutions were passed on this issue.  Board members use both the Majority Text or Eclectic Text. Years ago the FBF meeting in Chicago sponsored a public debate on the text issue between Dr. Custer from BJU and representatives from the TR only camp.  Custer won the debate hands down.  Mark Minnick is the best spokesman from the FBFI executive board on the text issue.  He knows the issue better than anyone on the board and can articulate it with grace and accuracy.

Pastor Mike Harding

FBFI Member Churches

Are there still member churches in the FBFI for which this is still a point of contention? I'm glad that the FBFI has made this statement; but, before today, I assumed that it was unneeded. If there are still FBFI churches for which this is still a point of contention, what have those church's pastors been teaching? In other words, the fact that the FBFI made this statement in 2014 is puzzling and possibly troubling.

I don't know whether FBFI has

I don't know whether FBFI has a long history of KJVO activism, but if there is, I would have to suggest that a stronger statement might be worthwhile.  Something that cautions those who would make it an issue that they need to be arguing the relative merits of the texts and concede that we don't have the means today of proving which texts are the best, and that those who use personal attacks to "advance" their cause will be subject to church discipline for that.

But that said, it's good to see the statement going this far.  Hopefully fundamental Baptists will soon agree that the KJV is a wonderful translation, but that this does not need to exclude the NASB, ESV, NKJV, and such.

FBFI

is a fellowship of people, not churches. There are no "member churches" hence no collective "discipline" demanded from FBFI.

Agreed!

Agreed. The statement should be much stronger regarding the legitimacy of other good translations.>

Pastor Mike Harding

Shaynus

Perhaps so, but my favorite KJV phrase is "superfluity of naughtiness"!

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Yes, Mark

But are FBFI members who are also pastors promoting contra-Biblical and divisive textual positions? I'm fairly confident that if an FBFI member pastor had John Piper or *gasp* Tim Keller come and speak in the church he pastors, the FBFI would remove that pastor from the membership role. I assumed that the FBFI had already covered the textual "thing" several years ago. Once again, are members who teach contra-Biblical and divisive textual positions welcomed in full fellowhip?

Oh, and I hear, fairly frequently, FBFI members who are pastors refer to the churches they pastor as "FBFI churches." The language seems to only change to being about a membership of individuals whenever questions are raised that make FBFI members uncomfortable.  

I'm guessing

that there is also not a you must despise Peter Enns section either.

KJVO

John,

I have been a member of the FBFI for almost 30 years.  I never refer to our church as a FBFI church.  I am a member individually.  If a member is theologically KJVO, then that person is in violation of the doctrinal statement and many resolutions.  KJVOnlyism is clear error and possible heresy depending on how strongly it is stated.

Pastor Mike Harding

Help me out here...

Mike Harding wrote:

John,

I have been a member of the FBFI for almost 30 years.  I never refer to our church as a FBFI church.  I am a member individually.  If a member is theologically KJVO, then that person is in violation of the doctrinal statement and many resolutions.  KJVOnlyism is clear error and possible heresy depending on how strongly it is stated.

...I still don't understand how Clarence Sexton is invited to speak as of late at FBFI gatherings.  Dr. Bauder attempted to white-wash this back in May  with two arguments:

"The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International represents a kind of organization that is nowhere envisioned in Scripture. It is simply a human invention, defined for its own purposes, and without any biblical mandate. That does not mean that the FBFI is bad, but it is optional from a New Testament perspective. The level of endorsement implied by participating on its platform is relatively low and must be defined by the stated purpose of the platform. In other words, [#1] as long as Pastor Sexton has not been invited to stump for King James Onlyism, his presence does not imply mutual agreement on this point. In fact, the published statements of the FBFI specifically disavow the King James Only position. As long as Pastor Sexton’s sermon sticks to the areas of agreement, his presence is not a significant problem.

Another consideration also comes to bear, namely, that [#2] Pastor Sexton’s college has actually backed away from its strict KJO position as stated in its doctrinal statement. It used to say that, “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.” Now it states that, “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 use; the Authorized King James Version of the Bible is the English version we use in the English-speaking world.” The elimination of the word “accept” means that this doctrinal statement no longer rejects other versions as the Word of God."

- [ http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/im-ok-with-this ]

To the first, does that mean that if anyone else holding to "clear error" [to quote yourself] avoids mention of such error on the FBFI platform, they'd also be welcomed?

to the second, the KJVO position that Dr. Bauder states that Sexton has "actually backed away from" has, yes, been expunged from the college's website; but it still appears in its original entirety, verbatim, as of today (10/20/2014) in his church's doctrinal statement:

http://templebaptistchurch.com/pages/statement-of-faith.php

So why does Clarence Sexton get a free pass on his KJVOism from the FBFI?

 

 

 

 

 

Temple Baptist Church

I went to the link Larry Nelson provided and found this statement: "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. The Bible is our sole and final authority for faith and practice."

 

That strikes me as pretty tame! So they follow the MT, TR and the KJV. They don't say the KJV is the ONLY acceptable translation in English, just the only one THEY USE.

I personally have no problem associating with people that believe that.

"accept"

Mark

Suggest a thought experiment.  Go to Temple Baptist with a NKJV or NIV and see how people respond.  The truest test of a church's doctrine is how it plays out in practice.  No?

I would think you might find out that the word "accept" might still be pretty significant, though I would be very happy to be wrong on that one.  At the very least, that's what my "mental trip" to Temple suggested to me.

Thank you, Mike,

for the clarity. I assumed that was the FBFI's position, but the new article made me wonder if it was a new position and I had assumed incorrectly. I thought that I had remembered reading an article about it in one of my Dad's Frontline's from the early 00s or late 90s.

Mark_Smith wrote:

Mark_Smith wrote:

I went to the link Larry Nelson provided and found this statement: "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. The Bible is our sole and final authority for faith and practice."

 

That strikes me as pretty tame! So they follow the MT, TR and the KJV. They don't say the KJV is the ONLY acceptable translation in English, just the only one THEY USE.

I personally have no problem associating with people that believe that.

Mark, 

I'm not sure what you're reading. It actually does say the KJ is the only true English version of the Bible - according to them. This KJVO position is clear in its pronouncement that all other English versions are corrupted and untrustworthy. In the hierarchy of doctrine, I place soteriology and biblology on the highest rungs of the ladder because mistakes in these areas cause ripple effects in all other areas. 

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

KJOnly is a broad thing

If someone says for them the KJV is the only accepted translation, that is one thing. The heresy is saying the KJV was reinspired, for example. People who believe the TR is the best Greek text are not heretical! Those people tend to prefer the KJV and say that is the best translation and the one they use.I can work with those people.

Personally, I prefer that to the NIV2011 where verses are just missing with no explanation! 

Chip

The Temple position does NOT SAY the KJV is the ONLY proper English translation period. It says it is the the one they find acceptable and use. They DON'T say the NIV, NASB, NKJV are satanic translations, nor do they say the KJV was reinspired.

Historical Note

We covered this a little bit in May with Dr. Bauder's Nick of Time article titled "I'm OK With This".

I still think that calling the King James the only 'acceptable' version of the Bible is hugely problematic and is not that much of a retreat from an aberrant Bibliology.  I'm disappointed that the FBFI doesn't feel the same way, because I thought that the men in charge would know better.  If I said that the ESV was the only acceptable Bible translation in a hypothetical church, there would be a firestorm of controversy and rightfully so.

And as for this: 

[The FBFI] is a fellowship of people, not churches. There are no "member churches" hence no collective "discipline" demanded from FBFI.

That seems like a very convenient dodge that allows them to collect dues or contributions from anyone who wants to be in the group without having to deal with any thorny issues that people in the fellowship may cause, a la Pastor Sweatt's diatribe from a few years ago.

"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 wrote:

Mark_Smith wrote:

The Temple position does NOT SAY the KJV is the ONLY proper English translation period. It says it is the the one they find acceptable and use. They DON'T say the NIV, NASB, NKJV are satanic translations, nor do they say the KJV was reinspired.

Actually Mark, the KJVO position is much broader than simply a claim of re-inspiration per Ruckman. What the majority of them say today, including this statement representing Sexton's ministry, is that the KJV is the only accurate translation. That's why it is the only accepted English version of the Bible. The language is clear and explicit, no other English version of the Bible is accepted as God's Word for the English speaking people. This is based on the belief that the TR is the one and only true and accurate Greek New Testament while other Greek New Testaments are errant causing problems with the English translations that are created using them. While there are admittedly a range of positions on the KJVO spectrum from clear error to rank heresy, as someone said earlier, Sexton is clearly within the KJVO spectrum.

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

Further, the FBFI's structure

Further, the FBFI's structure as a fellowship of individuals (not just "clergy") is the same as its founding in the 1920s.  From time to time, it co-existed under the umbrella of the Northern Baptist Convention and the Conservative Baptist Association.  But, it's never been a "fellowship of churches".  Anybody who terms the FBFI as an "foc" is at best using language loosely and at worst is ignorant of the organization.

Don Johnson wrote:

It is what it is. It's not a dodge. Read the documents.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Where KJVO is aberrant

Mark, you and others ask a good question.  My take on where all versions of KJVO I've seen become aberrant is that they all assume not only that the various streams of texts (TR, Majority, Alexandrian, etc..) are different, but also claim that those who did the copywork deliberately changed the document.  In general, the claims are that Arius tended to remove the Trinitarian formulations to hide the deity of Christ in the Alexandrian texts, or that the Catholics did so later.  Despite being unabashedly Trinitarian, of course.  (logic does not seem to be the strong point of KJVO advocates, to put it mildly)

There are a bunch of problems with this, starting with the fact that I know of no evidence that Arius had anything to do with copying the Scriptures, let alone leading followers to falsify them.  If those at Nicea had known of such things, they would have written about them and we would have contemporary sources.  We don't.

More importantly, a declined language like Hebrew, Greek, or Latin is remarkably resistant to copy errors because you can infer things like verb tense from the nouns, verbs, and context.  For example, here are some ways to say "I love you" in Latin: ego amo te, ego te amo, te amo ego (word order is not important in Latin, much like poetry in English), te amo, amo te, and we can even introduce some spelling errors and say "ama te" or "ti amo" and get the meaning--the verb clarifies the noun or vice versa.  

Now, if an Arius wannabe comes by and deletes our sentence because he doesn't like the notion, here is what we have:

"           "

So we see that the doctrine of inerrancy can survive (and has survived) any number of copy errors.  However, if we argue that Party A removed things deliberately, how are we to argue that Party B did not?  And what confidence to we have in any of the Scriptures?  See how KJVO in general will undermine the first of the fundamentals and sola Scriptura?

​Never mind that if Arius had had access to the texts and was going to remove portions that pointed to the deity of Christ, why do we find John 1:1 in many Alexandrian texts?  It points to the Trinity far better than the "Trinitarian" formulations because it unequivocally points to Christ as having the attributes of God, along with dozens, probably hundreds, of other passages.

Which leads to reasons #2 and #3 that I tend to separate from those who are KJVO (or "OKJV", as one person described himself to me); lazy exegesis and hermeneutics, and the habit of making personal attacks instead of substantive arguments.   And so any pastor who makes such arguments demonstrates very clearly to me that he is not "apt to teach".

And I don't have a problem with this either!

Don Johnson wrote:

It is what it is. It's not a dodge. Read the documents.

And I don't have a problem with this either!

I joined 1 year and got the magazine (which is very good) and the directory. [I wasn't faking my position .... doctrinally I fit].  As I recollect I found it ironic that both Lou M and Kevin were in the directory (but my memory is a bit foggy on this)

Doctrinal Statement

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.

Snore

****** Snore******

Did Frontline run out of stuff to write about or something? This issue is so 1990's

Odd Timing

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.

Agreed

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

Jay wrote:.... and the fact

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. 

Bob,

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

KJV Mafia

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.

Mike Harding wrote:

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.

the KJV issue

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.

LDS loves KJV

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.

ESV

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

NKJV or ESV

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

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Tyler, I made those

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?

#1 comment

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.  

Ambiguous

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

Waiting for this to happen

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

Contemporary Language vs Corrected Verses

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? 

Mark_Smith 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? 

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?

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