"King James Only " debate has divided Bible-believing Baptists.
| Previous to the middle of
the twentieth century, choosing a Bible version was simple. Other
than a small handful of versions and revisions in limited useage at the
time, the King James Version of the Bible was, by far, the accepted text
for English speaking Christians. Since then, there are more versions
and revisions (some posing as versions) than one can count. The result
has been threefold: 1) increased sales of the Bible by those who publish
them, 2) confusion amongst Bible believing people as to which version to
use, and 3) a debate that has seriously divided Baptist people. It
is the latter result that qualifies this as an issue that needs to be adressed.
Most of the current information
regarding this issue comes from the more conservative Baptists. They
regard the prolifiration of so many Bible versions as an attack on the
Word of God while presenting numerous arguments that point to the King
James (Authorized) Version as the only true English version. In fact,
the Internet is flooded with web sites which address this issue, including
numerous message boards and even chat rooms dedicated to the subject.
Certainly, the very fact
that Baptists distinguish themselves regarding the doctrines of Individual
Soul Liberty and the Independency of the Local Church, demands that all
such views be considered as well as consideration demonstrated to those
who express them. However, this hot-button issue is one that has
brought out the worst in some of us.
worthwhile topic. However, Dr. Ruckman's
overwhelming need to attack those who disagree with him, both verbally
and by the written word, caused an attitude of hostility that has proven
to be a point of embarassment amongst Baptists. The issue has expanded
in to the Internet. Dozens of web sites are dedicated to the subject
and too many of them exhibit a kind of meanness that contradicts any notion
of scholarly debate. Some are downright viscious.
|| There is little
doubt that the debate would be as intense if not for the influence of Dr.
Peter Ruckman. His book, Bible Babel (1964), is attributed to have
started the debate. In truth, when the discussion is framed within
the context of mature Bible believing Christians who treat each other with
honor and respect, it is definitely a
This writer has personally
experienced attending a church where the ushers were instructed to ask
visitors to the church what version of the Bible they were carrying.
If they had brought any version other than the King James, they were asked
to not take it into the "sanctuary." If unable to comply, they were
asked to leave. I might also mention that the church dropped from
over 500 in attendance to under 150 upon adopting this practice.
Interestingly enough, the leadership of the church stated that the loss
of membership was justified in that they were taking a stand for God.
That point may be debateable but no one will argue that nearby Baptist
churches appreciated the influx of the new members that they received as
Conversely, there are those
men of God on both sides of the issue who argue their views on this subject
with true Christian dignity and maturity. They are to be applauded
and appreciated. Rather than attack personalities and allow the subject
to alienate other good Baptist people, they argue from their understanding
of the historical texts and the development of the English Bible.
Believing in the power of God's Holy Spirit to speak to the hearts of believers,
they simply present the facts as they see it and let whatever is true convict
others as to on which view they adopt. This approach has always been
understood by Baptists to be the only way to present Biblical truth.
Gentlemen, be passionate
about your convictions but remember that a house divided against itself
can neither stand nor do those outside desire to come inside such a disagreeable