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

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cloudy Daze

One of my personal amusements is to occasionally drop by David Cloud's Way of Strife... I mean Life website and look over his daily articles listing. I don't know what entertains me more? The alarmist, hand-wringing warnings to his devoted readers to separate from such-and-such a preacher or church organization violating his list of secondary separation rules. Or maybe it is his misinformed exposes of contemporary Christian music using as his source 25 year old articles taken from Christianity Today.

Whatever the case may be, pastor Cloud is a bright and shining beacon of that misguided independent fundamentalism elevating personal preferences to the level of doctrinal orthodoxy and passing it off as being biblical Christianity.

When pastor Cloud is not chasing down theological windmills, like the danger of Calvinism in IFB churches, he takes up the cause of defending the KJV against the criticisms of neo-evangelicals.

A recent example is his August 20th article defending the KJV rendering of Romans 8:16 which reads, "The Spirit itself..." In addition to defending what is truly a horrific translation by the KJV translators, whom Cloud praises as the greatest scholars the world has ever known with the same amount of gusto bimbo actress Scarlett Johansson praises Obama as being the savior of humanity, he also launches an assault against Doug Kutilek who wrote a lengthy article explaining why the translation is in severe error.

Kutilek's article articulates clearly why the KJV rendering of the neuter pronoun auto as "it" in relation with the neuter noun pneuma "spirit" must be translated as "The Spirit Himself..." rather than the KJV translation "The Spirit itself..." Along with grammatical accuracy in translating the Greek language, one primary reason is theological. The Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force as Jehovah's Witnesses and Socinian heretics have taught. Kutilek even suggests that one of the reasons the KJV translated auto with pneuma as "it" in at least 4 instances in the KJV may have to do with the fact some translators on the KJV committees may had been closet Socinians.

Supplementing Kutilek's article is James May's article adding some highlights to the Greek neuter noun/pronoun nuances as it is used throughout the NT. He addresses the ridiculous assertion by KJV defenders that the KJV is merely translating the passages literally. Together, Kutilek and May's articles demonstrate that any KJV-only argument attempting to defend the KJV translation of Romans 8:16 as "The Spirit itself..." is profoundly flawed. Such argumentation is based upon a stark ignorance of the original Greek language and to what lengths KJV-only apologists will go to blindly defend their presupposition that the KJV is error free.

Enter David Cloud. Handkerchief tied around his eyes and stick in hand, he is going to try to whack this pinata.

He opens up by first criticizing Doug Kutilek's credentials as a scholar and writer. According to Cloud, Doug Kutilek is no recognized Hebrew or Greek scholar of any renown expertise. Nor has he ever done any significant translation work of God's Word. So Kutilek is out of his league to even offer any critique of those heaven sent KJV translators.

[Keep this opening remark mocking Kutilek's scholarly abilities in mind as we move along]

After heaping sycophantic praise upon the KJV translators, Cloud then offers the same argument that the KJV translators were merely translating the Greek into proper English when they translate Romans 8:16 as "The Spirit itself..." This claim is utterly debunked by Kutilek and May's articles. However, who does Cloud cite as a source affirming his argument? Is it a recognized language translator? A scholar of renown expertise? No. He appeals to none other than Thomas Strouse! You know, the Thomas Strouse who has attempted to argue that the Bible teaches a geocentric view of the solar system! That Thomas Strouse.

So much for scholarly abilities to defend the KJV-only view of Romans 8:16.

Oh, but there is more.

Cloud then appeals to the argument that the English translation "itself" can refer to a person. In order to prove this assertion, he then cites from an article which quotes from the Random House New Webster's College Dictionary. Apparently, there are secondary instances where the word "itself" can be used when the gender of the object is unknown or the gender is mentioned in the sentence. But it isn't a primary usage. Moreover, Cloud seems to forget that regardless of the usage of a particular word in the English language, there is still the Greek usage. The fact remains that the Greek and English languages do not treat the grammatical gender of a word in the exact same way.

But that is not the best part. Where do you think Cloud pulled this information about the English use of "itself?" Did he consult a recognized NT language scholar? A biblical translator of renown expertise? Nope. He got it from internet gadfly, Will Kinney! The Will Kinney who operates a KJV-only website and involves himself with a variety of email discussion groups (a couple of which I have been kicked off) with a bunch of anti-Trinitarian Oneness Pentecostals. Will Kinney, as far as I know, teaches high school Spanish classes somewhere in Colorado. If Cloud was so desperate to defend the presupposition that the KJV contains no translational errors with Romans 8:16 why didn't he just quote Peter Ruckman or Gail Riplinger? But Will Kinney?

Doug Kutilek, who is a better scholar than what Cloud lets on has given a tremendous response to this cloudy mess of KJV-only apologetics. You can read it here: As I See It, Vol. 11, Num. 9, September 2008.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

you hit the nail on the head. I've attempted to dialogue with Cloud before, and I tried to remain as charitable as possible. But he will have absolutely no correction. He does the same thing he accuses others of doing. He makes virtually no attempt at discussing the actual issues at hand, while making sure to paint a bad portrait of the one with whom he disagrees. I've experienced it first hand. And to think, this guy was once one of my favorite authors!
Love your blog, by the way

6:29 PM, September 08, 2008  
Blogger Carl said...

You may find amusement in Cloud's missives, but I've long grown tired of them. I've had personal dealings with Cloud several years ago on some discussion groups and I found him early on to be disingenuous, insulting, arrogant, ill-informed, and frankly just an overall disreputable person. His logical fallacies, for example, are so widespread and commonplace in his writings and argumentations that they could be used in a class on reasoning as examples of poor writing and reasoning. He tends to dismiss scholarly materials out of hand if they disagree with his personal views. He insults those who disagree with those views. In short, he stands wrong on so many Biblical issues but is so self-deluded that he is unable to see the truth.

9:07 AM, September 10, 2008  
Blogger Carl said...

I skimmed a portion of Will Kinney's website, specifically his article which asks the question "What Happens if you are Not a King James Bible Only believer?" From what I can determine he really doesn't fully answer his own question and comes up just short of declaring those who do not buy into KJV-Onlyism as unsaved and bound for eternal damnation (as some very radical KJV-Only churches do). What did jump out at me in that article alone is how lacking in sound exegesis and Biblical languages Will Kinney exhibits. You use the term "gadfly" and his reasoning (or lack thereof) supports the application of that term. He seems to be more of a Ruckmanite type of KJV-Only proponent. It's sad that he is unable and unwilling to bother with facts, sound exegesis, proper language tranlating processes and simple logic & reasoning. However I have found this to be quite common with KJV-Only proponents (and even some of the so-called "scholarly" proponents of KJV-Onlyism {Ruckman, Riplinger, Gipp, et. al.). I admit I am not a Biblical scholar, but could clearly see a multitude of errors in Kinney's article even via a brief skimming. Someone who has been properly educated in Biblical studies could pick apart Kinney's articles like picking pine needles off a pine tree.

10:03 AM, September 10, 2008  
Blogger Highland Host said...

The trouble with the King-James only position is that it is just plain silly. They are saying that the only place where I can find God's word in English is a 17th century translation that is badly edited in places (it seems that the various committees who did the translating did so in relative isolation, and there was little attempt to edit the completed work when the various portions were brought together, leading to the same words being rendered as 'thou shalt do no murder' and 'thou shalt not kill' in two different places), and has an enormous Anglican bias (see 'Bishop', and 'easter', and also 'church'). It was designed to knock out the Puritan Geneva Bible. As for the preface, such a piece of sycophancy really has no place in a Bible.

It is also amazing that anyone could argue that the text underlying the AV is completely accurate, when it is based on a mere handful of manuscripts and contains readings (1 John 5.7, and certain places at the end of Revelation) that exist in NO ancient Greek manuscript. Erasmus and Beza did a good job with what they had, but literally thousands of manuscripts have been found since then. The KJVO method is to try to find ways to junk all those manuscripts. It is usually supported by dishonesty and violent ad hominem.

As for me, it is my opinion that the humblest honest translation of the Bible is the word of God. Doesn't mean we shouldn't make the effort, but it does mean that even the Good News Bible can be used by God, hard as that may be to accept. Not that I'd use what is really a children's Bible in church of course...

2:02 AM, September 17, 2008  
Blogger Andrew said...

I gotta say, having read much of the literature over the decades from all points of view, the KJVO/"received" is basically pretty much the way to go (albeit often clumsily, shallowly & partially presented) by IFB proponents.

I've also been informed over those same decades from charismatics, pentecostals, "deliverance ministries" (Oneness aside...grin) etc. who are so vast in worldwide "Christendom" in number making the Reformed look like a minority subset, that whenever casting out whatever types of fallen spirit beings the "exorcism" takes ten times longer if an NIV, NASB, etc. is used because those beings don't recognise real authority in those or even as God's word - and will fight if one misquotes such by using an errant passage (NIV, NASB etc.)

..What one might call the "anti" side to the "Jack Chick Crusader
comic" fruit of evangelism over the centuries evidential claim.

9:06 PM, August 18, 2009  

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