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

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

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?

Jay's picture

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

Mike Harding's picture

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

John E.'s picture

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.

Bert Perry's picture

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.

Mark_Smith's picture

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

Mike Harding's picture

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

Pastor Mike Harding

Shaynus's picture

Can we agree that "whither" is an out-dated word? Smile

 

TylerR's picture

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

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

John E.'s picture

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.  

John E.'s picture

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

Mike Harding's picture

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

Don Johnson's picture

Shameless self promotion... Last Friday we ran another article on the topic, A Review of a Review: a blog on the versions. I thought it might be in keeping with this thread to promote it here also.

Thanks for the link, by the way.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry Nelson's picture

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?

 

 

 

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

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.

Bert Perry's picture

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.

John E.'s picture

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.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

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?

Mark_Smith's picture

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! 

Mark_Smith's picture

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.

Jay's picture

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

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

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?

Don Johnson's picture

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

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Rob Fall's picture

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..

Bert Perry's picture

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".

Jim's picture

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)

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