Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, September 26, 2005

Leaving King James Onlysim

(With special thanks to Gail Riplinger)

I have been meaning for sometime now to blog a little bit on King James Onlyism. I kept putting off writing on the subject because other interests would come along to take up my time, and because KJV onlyism has been a subject that has occupied my personal study for nearly a year and half, so I was wanting to put it aside for a while. In fact, I had recently finished a series of devotional studies I entitled Confessions of a KJV only Advocate that examines what I use to believe, as well as interacts with what I think are the main arguments put forth by KJV only advocates. Then, I found out about a nasty article one Ruckmanite by the name of Jeffrey Nachimson wrote against me and I was energized to re-visit the topic.

King James onlyism is near and dear to my heart because I emerged from being a hard shell KJV onlyist in belief and practice. I chronicle my journey through KJV onlyism in a more in-depth article that can be read at my Fred's Bible Talk website. However, for the sake of introducing new readers to the topic of KJV onlyism, allow me to give a short re-telling of my testimony.

King James Onlyism could be simply defined as:

The belief that God's Word, the Holy Bible, has only been faithfully preserved in one English translation: the 1611 King James.

According to KJV advocates, the Hebrew and Greek texts used by the KJV translators represent the infallible, inerrant, and exactly preserved words originally penned by the writers of scripture. In other words, God so preserved the process of transmission for the biblical documents it was as if the King James translators were translating from a Xerox copy of Jeremiah's original prophecy or Paul's original letter to the Colossians.

Additionally, KJV advocates insist that the men commissioned by King James the 1st to produce the translation which would eventually bear his name, were not only the godliest in their spiritual walk with Christ, but also the greatest ancient language scholars the Christian church had ever known. That means God not only saw fit to govern the transmission of biblical manuscripts so that the translators would have the actual words the biblical writers wrote, He also directed the choosing of the translators so that only the most skilled would be translating.

Conversely, KJV advocates insist heretics intentionally corrupted the Hebrew and Greek texts used to translate all of our modern versions beginning with the Revised Version published in 1881. The corruption, though ever so slight, is manifested with the altering of key Christian doctrines like the Deity of Christ and salvation in faith alone. Furthermore, unlike the godly KJV translators, the men who translated many of the modern versions like the NASB or the NIV had either a hidden liberal agenda to produce a new age style translation, or were unwitting dupes in the overall scheme.

This is the view of the Bible I believed, taught, and defended for nearly ten years.

I was introduced to King James onlyism shortly after my conversion to Christ. I had a friend of mine who hosted occasional Bible studies at his apartment, and this friend enjoyed supplying good books for Christians to read. One of these books I received from him was a book entitled, To Be or Not To Be: Can You Trust the Modern Versions, written by an Oklahoma pastor named Gary Flynt. The book was basic KJV only rhetoric similar to what I outlined above. Being unstable and unlearned, I was convinced by the arguments presented in the book. I was particularly impressed with a section in the book dealing with problem passages in scripture. Rather than concluding textual discrepancies are a result of scribal copying errors, as the notes in the typical study Bible often conclude they are, pastor Flynt argued that by solely using the KJV, an easy solution can be found within the biblical text, rather than labeling all such discrepancies as copyist errors. To prove his point, he re-printed a couple of articles written by a medical doctor in New Zealand who frequently contributed Bible study articles to a local, New Zealand Baptist publication.

I was so moved by Pastor Flynt's book that I hunted down his phone number and called him to talk about KJV onlyism. He recommended to me several books by a variety of authors and I soon began amassing a substantial KJV library.

I quickly became something of a pest in my college church group constantly hassling my friends and other students about the translations they used. The pastors at my church lacked the sophistication to counter my arguments, so I was pretty much left unfettered and dismissed as a zealous young man who will eventually learn.

When I arrived at seminary, I was not as out spoken of my KJV onlyism simply because I was around people who could argue better than me and who would not lay down for my assertions. Rather than constantly getting into heated debates, I kept my KJV only convictions to myself. I just wanted to get through seminary, learn what I could, and then go out and pastor a church where I could preach my KJV onlyism to my heart's content.

I probably would have done just that, but thank my sweet Lord, He refused to leave me in this foggy state. There were a handful of factors which the Lord used to bring me to the truth and a complete departure of KJV onlyism. I recount more of them in my Confessions article. The one individual who did more to sober me regarding Bible translations came from an unlike source within the KJV only movement: Gail A. Riplinger and her book, New Age Bible Versions (NABV).

I am at a loss as how to describe her book. It does exist as a prime example of why editors are important. As I describe in my Confessions article:

The author, Gail Riplinger, gathered all the threads of knowledge pertaining to textual criticism her degree in interior design provided, and with a skillful use of ellipsises, masterfully wove together scholarly ineptitude, twisted exegesis, conspiracy theories, her personal revelations from God, illogical comparison charts, distorted fact, and a sinister red and black cover, to produce a hideous literary tapestry.

To summarize her book, Ms. Riplinger (pictured above. BTW, I wish to offer a shout out to Scott McClare, the Crusty Curmudgeon, for the picture. For a woman whose image is as elusive as Nessie, she is more attractive than I had imagined. I was thinking more along the lines of a frumpy, old style Pentecostal woman with monotone dresses and a tight bun in the hair), believes the devil is attempting to usher in the New Age of the anti-Christ and his primary method is the introduction of new age doctrine in place of Christian doctrine through the instruments of modern Bible versions like the NIV, NASB, and the ESV.

The profound, gross errors she promotes through out her book are almost infinite to the point there is no earthly way for a person who has taken the time to read her book to unravel the tangles she has created. There a number of reviews, but probably the best I have ever read is written by James May. I encourage everyone to print out a copy and take a weekend to read through it. Even though Riplinger is old news, Mr. May writes with spunk, intelligence, and clarity, and he brings the reader right to the point: Ms. Riplinger is a kook.

I personally believe she is a heretic on the magnitude of Benny Hinn or the late Robert Funk. She has done more to destroy the Body of Christ than any cultist could imagine doing. Of course, when I was a budding seminary student way back in 1993, I thought she deserved a theological Pulitzer Prize and her book should be required reading for every Christian college student in America.

Yet, despite my enthusiasm for Ms. Riplinger, it was her book that God primarily used to break me from KJV onlyism.

One of the areas of study in Ms. Riplinger's book that interested me was on the lives of B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort. These were to the two principle scholars who produced the Greek text from which the Revised Version of 1881 was produced, and in chapters 29 through 33 of NABV, Ms. Riplinger lays out her research showing how these two men were actively involved in Satanism and the occult. This accusation captivated me, because I figured if it were clearly documented that these men did what she claimed, then the modern versions my friends used were based upon the work of highly unorthodox men.

Armed with Ms. Riplinger's "copious and well-researched" footnotes, I journeyed to my seminary library and began my own research cross checking her citations from Westcott and Hort's books. I had not been there for more than 30 minutes when my heart began to deflate inside me.

As I read the original works of these two men, opened next to the citations printed in NABV, it became painfully obvious to me that Ms. Riplinger was seriously misrepresenting what they had written; in fact, I could even say I was being intentionally lied to. It is difficult to capture the feeling of the moment, but it was a revelation of sorts, like when you discover Santa Claus is not real by catching your father putting together a weeble wobble play set late one Christmas eve night.

In some instances, this woman was completely fabricating lies against them by twisting around whole paragraphs and selectively citing from comments taken whole pages from each other to produce an entirely bogus quotation.

Moreover, she was accusing them of wickedness neither one of them ever committed. For example, in an extended footnote in NABV (the 11th printing, 2000 edition, pg. 676-677, fn. 128), Ms. Riplinger claims B.F. Westcott was heavily involved with the occult and was an active member of Madame H.P. Blavatsky's Theosophical Society, an organization dedicated to spiritualism. She further claims he was a regularly contributor to the Theosophical Society Dictionary under the initials of W.W. Westcott.

One would think a book proclaiming to contain exhaustive research would note the difference between B.(rooke) F.(oss) Westcott and W. (illiam) W. (ynn) Westcott. Apparently, Google has not reached Ms. Riplinger all the way in the back woods of Virginia. A simple search will tell anyone that William Wynn Westcott was a London Coroner who was actively involved with secret spiritualist societies, especially one called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Brooke Foss Westcott and William Wynn Westcott

Apart from sharing an affinity for facial hair and a receding hair line, neither of these two men are alike in any philosophical way. Ms. Riplinger essentially libeled the character of B.F. Westcott.

I would like to testify that it was at this dawning moment of enlightenment with the lies of G.A. Riplinger that I renounced KJV onlyism and embraced the orthodox, historic Christian view of inspiration, preservation, and the transmission of the biblical documents, but to my shame, it was not. I took solace in the writings of other KJV onlyists who renounced Gail as not representing true KJV onlyism. Either that, or they were all ashamed to discover Gail was a woman. However, as I engrossed myself with their works, they too repeated many of the same lies against Westcott and Hort Ms. Riplinger published in NABV. It took another 7 years or so, but eventually, thanks be to God, he freed me from the muddled thinking of KJV advocates and their publications. And to think it all began with the Queen of all KJV advocates.

The Lord willing, I wish to publish some entries which deal with what I believe to be the 6 key presuppositional arguments used by KJV advocates to defend KJV onlyism. My prayer is that they will be beneficial not only to those ensnared in KJV onlyism, but also to those who may have to debate a KJV onlyist or two within the local church.

Just one last note. I linked to a review article on NABV by James May earlier. I would also recommend anyone printing out his articles on Westcott and Hort. Mr. May has done the Christian church an enormous favor by reading through nearly all of B.F. Westcott's printed works to expose the hideous lies preached against him by KJV onlyists. His research is pure gold and I for one hope to see it published in a book someday. Meanwhile, look over his on line articles at the KJV Only page.



Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Good article. "Dr." Riplinger converted me from KJVOnlyism, too.

12:16 PM, September 27, 2005  
Blogger Pickle Boy said...

Interesting how you seem to make a habit of commenting on how attractive looking your female adversaries are. First it was Ellen Johnson, and now it's Riplinger. What gives? Also, you are the longest winded blogger I've ever seen!! Trim alittle, will ya!

1:13 PM, September 27, 2005  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Long Winded!? I don't think I am any where being long winded as Steve Hays of Triablogue or even Phil Johnson of Pyromanic.
I will try to do better. ;>)


1:27 PM, September 27, 2005  
Blogger Chris Pixley said...

I was delighted to hear of your "conversion" Fred! And what's that you say about Santa Claus?

7:33 AM, September 28, 2005  
Blogger Howard Duck said...

So then, as I understand it, you are telling us that God did not give us an inerrant translation of His Word that even the simple among us can trust. Am I correct in this?
Howard Duck

12:44 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

So then, as I understand it, you are telling us that God did not give us an inerrant translation of His Word that even the simple among us can trust. Am I correct in this?

(Fred) Greetings Howard,
I take it your an Onlyist? Do you have a real name?

I would refer you to some articles I wrote detailing the biblical view of inerrancy. They can be found in my sidebar column under the Inerrancy Discussions. I would particulary draw your attention to the article I wrote called, Responding to Non-inerrancy Claims

In short, God has given us translations of His inerrant word, but there are no language translations that are "inerrant" in the same way inerrancy and infallibility is ascribed to the autographa. I can point to any reputable, conservative English translation and say this is God's inerrant word so long as the translation accurately conveys the biblical languages and the authoritative inerrant revelation they contain. Translations will have varying degrees of stylistic differences, but all of them can be considered vessels containing God's inerrant revelation.

If you ascribe textual inerrancy to one special translation, you are going to run into a series of serious problems. The least of which is attempting to reasonably answer the questions, where was God's inerrant Word before the arrival of this favored translation, and which edition of the favored translation is the inerrant Word of God? Holding such a frozen, irrational and plain unbiblical view of translations only serves to discredit the Bible, not established its authority.


7:04 AM, November 07, 2005  
Blogger Faithful to Christ my Savior said...

I just want to thank you for sharing this! I am in the process of studying her work since her sticky little web has wrapped itself around my little church and she has 99% of the men ensnared in her clever agenda. Everything I have checked into so far and all her accusations are based in untruth. I am documenting my findings so that I can share them with my church and as a good Berean hopefully help them out of her deceptive clutch. If you have any more information you can share, please send it to me at angela (at) truth (dot)tc

Thanks! Angie

10:26 AM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger SteveDudeC said...

Great article. I have come up against KJVOs and I liken it to the reformers who stood for speaking God's Word in the language of the people and were persecuted by the those who would hold to services in Latin. Thank you for your article!

2:24 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Revelation 2:17 said...

I am a middle-easterner and english is my third language. I believe God has preserved his most precious words in the English language with the King James Bible.

I have not read NABV. I've read more of Peter Ruckman, Samuel Gipp, and Bill Grady. The latter is nicknamed "Mr.notes" because he is so careful for veracity and reliability. In any event, I'm a bit surprised that your "conviction" was shot-up by discovering that a KJVO advocate has a sinful nature. I always thought my conviction for a perfect Bible rested in God's gracious mercy, not the arguments and good character of men. I'm sorry you were offended. Really.

8:12 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger Revelation 2:17 said...

...of course, that's assuming you are correct in your evaluation of Gail Riplinger. I cannot commnet on this now because I don't know enough. I've read Dr. White's "the king james only controversy" and his estimation of GR. But I've also read how he misquotes her and slanders her. Not that you are necessarily doing the same, if you are correct, but caution is the order of the day.

8:40 PM, September 05, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Well R217, if you had read carefully my testimony, you would have noted that my departure from KJVOism had more to it than being annoyed with the ungodly character of many of the individuals you seem to hold in high esteem.

All of the major KJV apologists, particularly the men you list, along with Riplinger, are terrible researchers and revise historical fact to support their position. I can stomach maybe a few character flaws in a person, but when a person who claims to speak for God and is critical of any and all who disagree with them appeal to phony scholarship, wildly inaccurate citations and to making stuff up out of thin air like these KJV defenders do, they lose all credibility with me.

I do hope you will at least read through the critical articles found at the KJV only site that interact with Gail Riplinger, David Sorenson, D.A. Waite and other KJV proponents. I would hate for you to be blinded to knowing the truth because of a slavish devotion to a handful of heroes you mistakenly think are unanswerable.


6:55 PM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Revelation 2:17 said...

My impression is that it was the root cause. It might have been a mistaken impression.
Phony scholarship is all over the place. I've seen my share in the "anti-KJVO" camp. I willl however look into the matter, such as checking the bibliographical notes. Your statements are certainly a mouthfull.
I do hold the men I mentioned in high-esteem, but my basis is God's providence to preserve his words for me and you. You probably have men you hold in high-esteem yourself and think they are unanswerable on some argument.
The way I look at it is; if the KJVOs are right, then the world is all the more blessed for having a perfect Bible. If you're right; brother you've expended some serious time and effort to enlighten some folks that there's no such thing as a perfect Bible for them to read.
Either way how do you think that'll go through the fire at the judgment seat of Christ?
Seriously, imagine answering the Lord on the edification you've caused on that one. It is a good exercise.

9:09 PM, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

My impression is that it was the root cause. It might have been a mistaken impression.

(Fred) It was one of many root causes. The scholarly fraud and horrific theology of IFB KJVOers were a couple of others.

Phony scholarship is all over the place. I've seen my share in the "anti-KJVO" camp. I willl however look into the matter, such as checking the bibliographical notes. Your statements are certainly a mouthfull.

(Fred) I would be curious for you to provide some examples. I provide some demonstrating Riplinger's phony scholarship. Can you provide some in the other direction?

The way I look at it is; if the KJVOs are right, then the world is all the more blessed for having a perfect Bible. If you're right; brother you've expended some serious time and effort to enlighten some folks that there's no such thing as a perfect Bible for them to read.

(Fred) You're a tad disingenuious with this comment. If the KJV only's are correct, they are no different than Bart Ehrman and other apostate critics of the Bible, because they believe God can't preserve his word EXCEPT in one specific "family" of manuscripts and even that "family" has serious variants.
KJVers assume there is no other means God can preserve a "perfect" Bible except through their contrived view of preservation; a view that is indefensible at its core.

Either way how do you think that'll go through the fire at the judgment seat of Christ?
Seriously, imagine answering the Lord on the edification you've caused on that one. It is a good exercise.

(fred) Welp, the judgment would go both ways. KJVers are just as "guilty" of having ministries burned up in fire for all the division and venom they have caused.


2:23 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger Revelation 2:17 said...

I'm interested.

What do you consider horrific theology?

And what other ways could God preserve a Bible without there being contradictions?
(You can use the euphemism of "textual variants" all you want but some readings are in clear contradiction like Isaiah 9:3 for example)

It might be disingenuous but that's really the way I look at it. I wasn't trying to be argumentative.

7:52 PM, September 08, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

What do you consider horrific theology?

(fred) That's simple:

The low view of God's sovereignty and the elevation of man's will.

The minimalizing of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the lives of Christians.

The easy believism that equates a true conversion to Christ as just praying a prayer, or some other external acknowledgement of Jesus, and then assuring the person he is eternally saved even though the person may never go to church again.

The manipulated preaching designed solely to get people to walk an aisle during an invitation.

Equating large numbers or big responses with the work of the spirit.

The warped view of personal holiness that is really the pursuit of ascetical values, ie, men can't have long hair or beards, women must always wear dresses, all CCM is wicked, etc, and then equating the pursuit of those ascetical values as walking in the spirit.

And what other ways could God preserve a Bible without there being contradictions?

(Fred) By preserving his Word in a multitude of copies, which is what we see when we consider the entire body of preserved manuscript evidence. That assures with certainty that the Word of God is safeguarded from true corruption. What KJVers fail to realize is that by calling all textual variants contradictions is that they now have aligned themselves with true biblical apostasy like Bart Ehrman and other anti-supernatural critics of the Bible. Ehrman argues the exact same way as you outline here: Having one, unbroken copy of the scriptures is the only way God could preserve a Bible without contradiction. Because the vast body of textual evidence does not demonstrate one unbroken stream of manuscripts which are free from textual variants, Ehrman concludes the Bible has been corrupted and thus it is not God's Word. Muslims also appeal to this form of argumentation against Christian defending the Bible. Both are wrong, and so is the KJVers.

You can use the euphemism of "textual variants" all you want but some readings are in clear contradiction like Isaiah 9:3 for example

(Fred) Perhaps you want to call them a contradiction, but I would just say you have an inaccurate definition of "contradiction" as it applies to the work of textual criticism determining the value of texual variants. Again, you, as well as all KJVers, play into the hands of anti-biblical skeptics, like Ehrman, atheists, and Muslims by equating variants with the concept of contradiction. In essence, because KJVers are for the most part ignorant of the workings of textual criticism, choosing instead to believe what really amounts to a fantasy with biblical preservation and transmission, they cut their own throats when they debate those skeptics.


6:52 AM, September 11, 2006  
Blogger Revelation 2:17 said...

"Perhaps you want to call them a contradiction, but I would just say you have an inaccurate definition of "contradiction" as it applies to the work of textual criticism determining the value of textual variants."

How far removed you sound, Sir, from the writings of the men of the Bible.

2Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

I do thank you for replying.

1:20 PM, September 11, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

RS217, how exactly does this passage have anything to do with what we are talking about here? If you think I am out of touch, then how exaclty do you answer skeptics like Ehrman, who believe exactly as you do about perfect, unbroken preservation and the reliability of God's Word?


1:34 PM, September 11, 2006  
Blogger Ryan said...

Revelation 2:17:

I think you have been had. The Bible says: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15

Many claimed that the Latin Vulgate was the perfect Bible, and even condemned those who disagreed. What is the difference? They are using the exact same arguments that you are using. I would like to know what makes them wrong and you right. Also, the argument that the KJV has produced more fruit is really not an argument. The Latin Vulgate has produced fruit, and more cults have used the KJV more than any other translation. So there is good and bad with every version. Benjamin Wilkinson, a Seventh Day Adventist agreed with you, as did David Koresh. Are they saved, or tight on doctrine? Maybe even having a KJV can lead many astray without the Spirit of GOD in you.

I noticed you said that English was not your first language. Well, it is mine, and I have to read the KJV with a dictionary. Call me crazy, but I think you should be able to read your Bible without having to constantly look up words and archaic phrases.

Nothing is true because you believe it. The tragic victims of cults such as the followers of Jim Jones had found that out. Truth can be search out and found. The only blind faith we are supposed to have is when GOD says something and the conditions seem to be towards the contrary. We are not to believe something where GOD is silent. That is called having faith in faith, not faith in GOD.

Nowhere have I read in scripture that the KJV is the perfect Word of GOD. If it were such a vital point, why would GOD be so silent on that issue? Can he not prophesy?

I will leave you with one question: If the KJV is the Perfect word of GOD, then why let believers for over 300 years after the KJV was produced think otherwise? I guess silly people thought that the KJV was the work of scholarship, well because, the translators themselves made that claim. Why couldn't those silly people realize that GOD left every other English translation prior to the KJV to scholarship (hence, the places it differs from the KJV), and then decided to step in on the KJV translation. It puzzles me.

4:52 PM, September 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gail Riplinger video 'New Age Bible Versions' contains multiple errors, lies, the majority of which are the gross misquoting of other people. In particular, a large portion of the misquoting is of the Bible, B.F. Wescott and F.J.A.

The New Bible Translations are more correct than the old ones and just about everything Gail Riplinger says in her book is a Lie. Please Don't be deceived by Gail Riplinger. Gail is slamming God's Holy Word in the new translations.


We have been doing extensive research on the Nasb, Niv, Nkjv, Kjv, Bible Translations. We do encourage you to find out more about Gail Riplinger & King James Only Lie.

Please do your own checking. That’s how you find the truth.

8:47 PM, May 25, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home