Does one's view of the critical text make a difference?

I know this guy who prefers his King James Version. He also is blessed by a Geneva edition that he reads regularly. He has a NKJV, but it’s never “clicked” with him.

He thinks that Peter Ruckman and his adherents are outside the realm of Biblical orthodoxy and also believes that there is no such thing as the Divine inspiration of a translation.

One of his reasons for preferring the King James Version is that he simply refuses to accept the critical text and the reasoning supporting it.

Is this guy OK?


I think he’s fine. I don’t think that I’d even pursue discussing it with the gentleman if he’s convinced in his own mind. He doesn’t hold to double inspiration, and he prefers a different text type that some others; I don’t see why we’d need to spend time or energy trying to ‘convince’ him otherwise.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin 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

I’m fine with that a non-critical text position, In fact, it’s the position I hold. Though my view comes from seeing the W-H, et al. position as trying to apply evolutionary thinking to the Bible text question. I’m more comfortable with Dean John Burgon’s critical apparatus. And I would support his position on Ruckman and his ilk.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

I prefer the critical text, but I have no problem with the viewpoint of this man. I may disagree, but I find his viewpoint reasonable.

My big problem with KJV is that it is not in the language of the people, as koine Greek was (an example for us to follow). Although I prefer NASB, ESV, and even NIV over the KJV, I could live with the New KJV. The differences between the TR and the Critical Text are pretty minimal, if you think about it. Of course, some people like to present the differences as huge.

"The Midrash Detective"

“Eclectic” means “to choose or consisting of what appears to be the best from diverse sources” (“eklegein” - “to single out”). This is a better description for those of us who believe that all the NT mss should be considered when deciding on a variant reading. In most cases the decision boils downs to an earlier reading or a majority reading. When those two are in conflict, the science of lower textual criticism is employed. Whether one chooses the earlier reading or majority reading, no doctrinal truth is changed in the Word of God. Translations will often put the preferred reading in the text and the alternative reading in the margin. The TR on the other hand has over 1800 readings that are late dated, non-majority readings. That is the reason I prefer to use an eclectic text which gives me all the information available. If someone prefers the KJV and the TR, that is fine with me. When they say that the Word of God is exclusively preserved in the TR and KJV, I believe they are in error. When they ascribe direct inspiration to the KJV, then they are heretical.

I was reading Kent Brandenburg’s blog about this matter. One of the comments he allowed to be posted compared myself, Doran, and Pratt as using the tactics of the “New Atheists”. Another on his blog said that though they are not Ruckmanites, they preferred Ruckmanism over against the CT as the lesser of two evils. Those kind of comments give Fundamentalism a very bad name. That is the kind of Fundamentalism that Kevin Bauder has been crticial of and rightly so. By the way, the same commentor also condemned MacArthur as a heretic on the Blood. Though I disagree with JM on numerous points, it is not fair to call JM a heretic on the blood. However, so often KJVO types participate in this kind of slander. In my opinion men like that are simply schismatic and I would not have ecclesiastical fellowship with them. Their ignorance is only surpassed by their arrogance.

Pastor Mike Harding

These were the remarks on the blog I briefly summarized and interpreted. Though I did not fully agree with the main article, it was the following comments posted by the author that I objected to. It is important that one realize that the proceeding comments were all written prior to my recent post above. I had never heard of any of these men or read anything by them when I made my initial comment that I agreed with Doran’s position stated in his article. Doran had not referenced them nor did I. Based on Kent Brandenburg’s initial article on his blog, he appears to make a proper distinction between the autographs and an English translation which was the point Doran was insisting on in his article. Personally, I think the intolerance does not rest with us.

PS Ferguson said…

Like many of the polemicists on the New Atheist movement, Harding, Doran, Pratt, all assume that caricatures and insinuations trump arguments. It puts me in mind of Cicero’s old dictum, “When you have no case, abuse the plaintiff.” It is notable the desperate desire for them to be recognized at the court of the Emperor MacArthur and his crowd. Despite MacArthur’s deeply disturbing views on the blood of Christ, total lack of biblical separation by preaching with Ecumenists and Charismatics in his ministry, promotion of rank CCM music at his conventions, BJU Board Member, Mike Harding, imperiously dismisses those who oppose MacArthur for their “the total lack of appreciation or honest commendation for men such as John MacArthur by some in our circles.” It wasn’t long ago that MacArthur was being blasted for these failings by Dr Bob Jones Jr. Indeed, it was only in 1984 that the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship (FBF) used to stand unequivocally against all Bible versions produced by liberals. In their FBF 1984 Resolutions they state,

“We condemn paraphrases such as The Living Bible and Good News for Modern Man and the products of unbelieving and liberal scholarship such as the Revised Standard Version and the New English Bible. We deplore the rash of new versions which add to or delete from the Word of God, such as the New International Version, with special reference to those so-called “revisions” which by footnote additions undermine the text. We recognize the unique and special place of the Authorized King James Version, providentially preserved by God in the English-speaking world.”

The Neo-Fundamentalist cabal are desperate to be recognized as “scholars” by the “Conservative” Neo-Evangelicals. They attended their schools for graduate training and are now pining to make the brief flirtation in the “other camp” a permanent relationship! David Burggraff, Larry Pettegrew, and Edward Glenny could not wait for this to occur and have jumped ship to the world of goatees, movies, CCM, and casual unseparated Christianity. In fact, the only people Harding et al really despise are those who stand unashamedly for the TR/KJVO. I can imagine he sits with gritted teeth in the BJU Board Meetings when he sees the arrival of Dr Ian Paisley there. Dr Ian Paisley rightly observed in his book My Plea for the Old Sword Ian Paisley agrees: “I believe the Authorised Version preserves the Word of God for me in the English tongue and that it contains no errors.”

I wonder will Dave Doran and Mike Harding separate from BJU for having such a “heretic” sit on their board, chair the World Congress of Fundamentalists, and for selling his “heretical” book in their bookroom…..Thought not! Pragmatism and politics trumps their much vaunted hubris about separating when writing on their blogs.

Additional post by P.S. Ferguson:

As you know, it is anything and anyone but the King James people for SI and the BJU, CBTS, DBTS crowd. Their position is not biblical and not historical but it is the position of the “liberal and Romanist scholars” so thats all right. However, the Reformed Baptists and the Reformed Churches asserted that God indeed had given us His settled Word, “…being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical” (WCF 1:8).

Post by Gary Webb:

I have been strongly “anti-Ruckmanism” because of the double-inspiration issue [as well as Ruckman’s personal life, ungodly spirit, & crazy doctrines]. However, I have to admit that, concerning the Bible in English, the Ruckmanite position is FAR BETTER than the Critical Text position. The CT position not only undermines the King James but EVERY Bible, including whatever “version du jour” the CT crowd is promoting

Pastor Mike Harding