Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fun with KJV-only People

After a rather dull and uneventful life, God has managed to bring some interest into the mix in the form of some interactions with those who espouse that the King James Version [KJV] is the only acceptable Bible in use today.

Now the Pedantic Protestant has a fair amount of experience in witnessing to Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, though success has been fleeting if it even existed. However, the PP really hasn't interacted at all with KJV-only people.

The experience has been rather interesting, to say the least. I've asked the following seemingly innocent questions:

(1) Does there exist a variant between the underlying Textus Receptus for the KJV New Testament and the eclectic text used in both the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece [27th ed.] and the United Bible Society's Greek New Testament, [4th ed.] such that the variant undermines a clear orthodox doctrine?

(2) Where exactly does a modern translation such as the NIV go astray in terms of the underlying text, in the sense that major doctrines are mangled?

The questions look similar. (1) deals with comparison of the Greek texts themselves and (2), while overlapping with (1) to a fair degree, deals with the actual translation of the text.

So far, the PP in his brief forays has been called a devil, sworn at, pronounced unilluminated by the Holy Spirit, an agent of Satan, and that is before the real fun begins, where I am told that I am the byproduct of sodomic relations between Satan and the Vatican. I almost feel as if I'm one of the bad guys in any number of
Chick Tracts.

Surely this can't be the behavior of KJV-only people in question. Why not do something constructive, such as read various dialogues and such between KJV-only folks and those who either disagree or just want the full scoop. A good place to start seemed to be the King James Onlyism page at Alpha and Omega Ministries.

The response of the PP upon reading some of these correspondences runs chronologically in the following things stated while reading most of the posts:

No way dude! This can't be real!

to

Dr White must be making this stuff up!

to

Wow, those KJV-only people are a bunch of loons!

to

I'll never again say that psychotropic drugs might not be useful in some cases!

Usually, when I see an opposing position, I try to be sympathetic to it, at least for argument's sake. It is much better to assume that people aren't complete suckers, especially since the PP held a bunch of silly things back in his college days, things for which he doesn't want to feel like a complete imbecile! Maybe there is some useful grain of truth in KJV-only claims.

Upon reading some materials on the pro-KJV-only side, and reading some materials against the pro-KJV-only side,
this seems to be one of those cases where absolutely nothing commends the KJV-only position. It isn't a noble position that just isn't supported strongly enough by the facts; rather it is an -ism or gimmick for people who, in the words of Steve Hays in a private message to me, "seek a shortcut to spiritual assurance."

Here is what I see as rather delicious irony here: KJV-only advocates, from my modest experience dealing with them and their writings, loathe the Roman Catholic Church to a level of intensity that is exponentially beyond what the most ardent Protestant polemicist or apologist should take towards Rome. Yet in practice, the KJV-only advocate behaves much like the Romanist that he despises. The Romanist in the KJV-only advocate's eyes stands accused of letting some theoretical entity [the Magisterium, papacy, Tradition] do the heavy lifting as per assurance and such. Yet the KJV-only advocate, while lashing out wildly at Rome, himself has the same theoretical entity to do the heavy lifting for absolute certainty. In this very narrowly defined regard, the hated Romanist [as the KJV-only advocate sees him] and the KJV-only advocate are really birds of a feather and peas in a pod.

[Good classical Protestants avoid the cheap-n-easy path to assurance by building up the case for scriptural authority inductively and from a nontrivial external historical argument. It would seem that sola scriptura is a much more objective and responsible "background space" within which to work and ask tough questions.]

Another talking point is that one can read rarified discussions of textual variants, manuscript families, and such. But, in my experience, I've never had a problem at all with variants, as there has never been a case where a choice of variants affects a clearly stated doctrine. The PP has gone through most of the NT in Greek at a more or less careful clip, and would like to think that if there are problematic variants that affect clear doctrine, he would've seen them by now! It seems that the Holy Spirit can speak through a Byzantine text-type or an Alexandrian text-type. My word goes out and shall not return to me empty-handed.

Yet another talking point is the claim that modern translations undermine the deity of Christ, most notably in places such as Titus 2:13 and II Peter 1:1. There, the renderings basically take two forms:

(i) our God and our Savior Jesus Christ [separation between God and Jesus]

--and--

(ii) our God and Savior Jesus Christ [that is, Jesus is called God]

Now some translations take path (i), and others take (ii). The point isn't to take (ii) because it upholds the deity of Christ, but to take (ii) because this is the most likely meaning of the underlying Greek construction. It is quite possible for an orthodox Christian, especially before computer-aided Greek programs made searching easy and practical concerning large collections of Greek texts, to have rendered the passages in question as (i). After all, there are other undisputed places in the NT where Jesus is called God [John 1:1, 20:28, say] and where Jesus has properties predicated of himself that are unique to God [Colossians 2, Hebrews 1]. The deity of Christ is so clearly stated in these passages that our little test cases of Titus 2:13 and II Peter 1:1 don't affect the deity of Christ either way.

Now I would argue, following Daniel Wallace and Murray Harris that option (ii), where Jesus is explicitly called God, is the much stronger option in comparison to (i). But this claim is not out of a prior commitment to uphold the deity of Christ; this claim is based on evidence that is neutral with respect to the question, as any meaningful evidence in the argument must be. The point of all this is that it seems laughable to the PP to hear an orthodox translation or version slammed on the basis of denying the deity of Christ, considering that this major doctrine has a great amount of unambiguous attestation elsewhere in undisputed parts of the text. [To be sure, there are versions that do this, such as the Watchtower's New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures where every passage that calls Christ God has been deliberately altered to fit into Watchtower theology, but I'm not talking about your cult translations here, only the more serious ones.]

So, in closing, the lesson learned with KJV-only people is that they don't deserve any sort of serious consideration. They exist merely to provide budget-friendly entertainment for solid Protestants.

13 Comments:

Blogger c.t. said...

Another seminary boy whose experience with inspired literature ceilings out at LOTR; who thinks Homer is a cartoon character solely.

You and White and Hays give yourselves away. You can't separate KJV from satanicus vaticanus because you can't defend your corrupt manuscripts and their patrons. And you can't see anything in the Authorized Version because you've never been able to read it. You were milk-fed on your Living Bibles and precious NIVs. And God help us all if we ever find out you ever tackled any level of literature above science fiction prior to, during, and after your seminary years.

Now write another essay that takes a bold stand, seminary boy.

Oh, and remember: when confronted delete! delete! delete!!! (White and Hays have blazed that trail of retreat for you...)

ps- Hays' brilliant comment, by the way, gives him away. Let me see, reading the Bible is seeking a shortcut to spiritual assurance. First of all, that Hays even thinks in terms of 'seeking spiritual assurance' gives away the 'philosopher' seminary lad. I would give Hays the same advice I give to RCs: read the Word of God, read it humbly, and wait on the Lord.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

"Here is what I see as rather delicious irony here: KJV-only advocates, from my modest experience dealing with them and their writings, loathe the Roman Catholic Church to a level of intensity that is exponentially beyond what the most ardent Protestant polemicist or apologist should take towards Rome. Yet in practice, the KJV-only advocate behaves much like the Romanist that he despises."


Right. We can discern evil, therefore we are just like the evil.

Understand something, seminary lad: when you discern the forces of evil at work in the Beast of Rome you see that it is in the suppression of the Word and the Spirit that is the center-of-gravity of what the Beast of Rome has historically carried out. With political power they've done it by torture and murder and burning.

A regenerate Christian (i.e. one with the Spirit of Truth and discernment in them, seminary lad) know it was by the very Word itself and the Holy Spirit that the regenerate Christian was regenerated. We know this because we have experienced it. Our lack of lukewarmness towards an antichrist beast entity that calls itself Christian and suppresses (and defiles through its satanicus vaticanus manuscripts that all you seminary lads fondle with such devotion) the Word and the Spirit is a direct result of having the Spirit IN us.

You would turn our glory in this into shame. That would be a reference to a psalm, seminary lad...

Thursday, May 12, 2005 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous 1689 said...

When did 'seminary' become a bad word? Or is the above someone's idea of a joke? It sounds like someone's caricature of a hyper-funamentalist preacher. Well, those of us who DO prefer to Authorised Version would like to distance ourselves from the above individual, while distancing ourselves also from the so-called 'Living Bible', the frankly infantile 'Good News Bible', etc.

But the above is rather sad, because it appears to PROVE the post. I think, P.P. that you're going to keep it there.

Some Americans make us Brits laugh. We Brits return the favour by making some Americans laugh.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

1689:

Nothing wrong with preferring the AV. The English within it has a solemn majesty that makes modern English sound vulgar by comparison.

As for the Living Bible, that was actually the Bible I used at my Christian school as a lad. In some ways, it is more a commentary than a translation. It was a gift to my parents by their next-door neighbors. You can make your jokes now. =D

I use an NIV for devotional purposes.

To be frank, the whole version thing strikes me as much ado about nothing, really. Having a preference isn't a problem; the problem lies in the unsupported KJV-only claims. Note that (1) and (2) posed in the post go unanswered.

As a little experiment, one can go through the UBS4 Textual Commentary by Metzger et al where the variants most of interest to translators are discussed to see for one's self whether my claims are true or not.

PP

Thursday, May 12, 2005 5:09:00 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

http://www.mag-net.com/%7Emaranath/white.htm

Read it slowly.

There two different issues involved in this KJV only subject matter. (1) manuscript issues, and (2) the virtues of the AV1611 as a culmination and pinnacle of English translations. Dicerning (1) does not necessarily mean you can discern (2). Discerning (2) needs experience with higher influences and great literature. Discerning (1) is a matter of learning the facts of the case and then having ability to discern the devil at work. If you learn the facts of the manuscript issues and you still give your allegiance to the satanic corrupt manuscript you need to think long and hard about your connection to God...

Friday, May 13, 2005 4:42:00 AM  
Anonymous 1689 said...

My great-aunt (last one) recently died and left me some Bibles. Among them were the Bibles of my other great-aunt. There were two of them. One was a 'Living Bible', which was in beautiful condition, almost unread, the other a newer NIV, which was falling to pieces.

This may mean something. As may the matter with your parents' neighbours.

Friday, May 13, 2005 5:52:00 AM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

I'll look at it c.t., rest assured.

This might produce some further PP posting material.

I'll still note the following: given your X-rated behavior at Triablogue and your tone here at PP, one would think you'd be able to answer my queries (1) and (2). These queries are hardly unfair. But, I'm willing to accept the possibility that the link will answer (1) and (2). Now it is time to read. I'll have to put my Little Golden Books down for this, apparently.

PP

Friday, May 13, 2005 3:25:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

1689 ---

On the other hand, it might not mean anything.

PP

Friday, May 13, 2005 3:26:00 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Your (1) and (2) have been answer a million times over.

For a good site to get a real, from your point-of-view, devil's advocate view go here:

http://av1611.com/kjbp/

Here's a review of a negative review of the site where you'll get a sense of how your particular questions have been nothing but answered, again and again and again, and you'll see how it doesn't matter much because until you can see the truth by having the Spirit of Truth in you you will, apparently on this subject, regard what man says (professors, church leaders, etc.) no matter what:

http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/staggs-treatise.html

This site (and also check the links page for a few other good sites that will give you and opposing, from your perspective, view) has many pages like this:

http://av1611.com/kjbp/charts/various.html

Remember, a little leaven... And death by a thousand cuts is still death...it just takes longer...

Friday, May 13, 2005 4:18:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

c.t. --- OK, I'll look at these latest sites as well.

I'll note that the original link to which you referred me didn't answer my (1) and (2). For example, I'm not interested in Hort or Westcott's status regarding regeneracy. Nor am I interested in sweeping sociological and historical claims [without any argumentation] about how certain Bible translations are responsible for whatever ills that happen to exist in scholarship or the world-at-large. The PP merely wants somebody to point out where a major doctrine of Christianity is vitiated by using, say, a KJV versus, say, an NIV or whatever.

Pointing out that Version A and Version B have a textual variant doesn't begin to answer the argument. This doesn't necessarily affect whatever doctrinal content exists in the questioned passage.

At worst, the variants I have found and examined deal with what appears to be clear and a fuzzier version of that statement. And, this is a two-way street when one compares the underlying TR with, say, an eclectic text.

So, the question still stands. Where will a person with a semblance of reading skill come up with heterodox doctrines by reading an NIV versus a KJV? This isn't a difficult question, and it certainly is a fair one given that you make strong statements regarding people's status before God on their attitude towards the KJV. So, this is merely asking one to put his money where his mouth happens to be.

Finally, just for the sake of repeating myself, I have no problem with the KJV. Nor do I have any problem admitting that, given a passage, the TR reading might have a superior attestation or argument as compared to an eclectic text. But I do have a problem with the sweeping claims given by the KJV's more rabid adherents.

PP

Friday, May 13, 2005 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

You're moving goals posts here for fear of what you'll find in the links. The fact is: Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

To see a thousand defilements of a hundred doctrines but then to say, yes, but it's only a 'shade' off, is not being serious. If you have a real valuation for the Word of God you don't put up with that.

Part of all this is the evolving nature of the defilements, remember.

The worst of all this is when you push these satanic manuscript translations onto unsupsecting people. When you have been made to know better and you still do it. That is residing in dark territory.

Friday, May 13, 2005 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

BIBLE DOCTRINES AFFECTED BY MODERN VERSIONS

http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/freeman-doctrines1.html

Friday, May 13, 2005 5:19:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

c.t. --- The goalposts have been stationary since the inception of this thread.

Here were the questions originally stated:
***********
(1) Does there exist a variant between the underlying Textus Receptus for the KJV New Testament and the eclectic text used in both the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece [27th ed.] and the United Bible Society's Greek New Testament, [4th ed.] such that the variant undermines a clear orthodox doctrine?

(2) Where exactly does a modern translation such as the NIV go astray in terms of the underlying text, in the sense that major doctrines are mangled?
***********

I've been asking these and only these all along.

Perhaps the later links you've provided will answer my immutable and fixed questions. So, I'm appreciative of your providing them.

PP

Friday, May 13, 2005 5:34:00 PM  

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