Last Sunday I published a blog post listing five observations regarding the KJV-only debate that so often surfaces in our world. The response has been huge and I have tried to answer each comment and question as best I could. Please forgive me if I somehow failed to answer yours. Some were fairly negative – I was called “liberal” and a “compromiser” by a few. Some warned me that I was on a “slippery slope” and shared stories about people who have even left the faith after going down “that path.” Some of my pastor friends shared that some good people in their churches were concerned as well. On the other side, many were very positive. My personal favorite was from Dr. Rick Flanders’ daughters who basically said that their father had taught them much of the same truths that I had written. Dr. Flanders has certainly influenced my thinking in many, many ways, so that was a personal blessing and encouragement. I did receive many comments and follow-ups that covered all sorts of topics within the debate itself. My friend Bill Patterson (who sat with me in most of my Greek and Hebrew classes at PCC many years ago) pointed out that the debate does involve two manuscript families and, depending on which family you emphasize, can lead to very different conclusions. Of course, he is right (he usually is!). My friend Dwight Smith shared some similar thoughts. A few just said I was courageous for simply bringing this up and making the case that I made. So here are some follow-up comments:
- I am not going liberal. I am the same person I have always been – a Baptist who is fundamental and who is a member of a church that is Independent (or unaffiliated, as some would now say it).
- I am not compromising. I am simply stating what I have experienced to be true. There are some really great Christians who see things differently than I do and I can love them and serve them.
- I repeatedly used the phrase “those I know” to draw attention to the fact that I wasn’t making across the board assessments. I was simply speaking of friends who love God, who are also fundamentalists in their doctrinal positions, who believe very similarly to me, and yet arrive at varying conclusions. I am convinced it has always been this way. Any reading of church history would certainly attest to that fact.
- I have no problem discussing and evaluating our different views. I am firmly convinced that, unless we do so with love to brothers and sisters in Christ, we accomplish absolutely nothing – except perhaps circling the wagons in our own little circles and then shooting at those outside our circle. I don’t have to shoot at a brother or sister in Christ who arrives at a different conclusion than I. I can, like Paul, rejoice that the gospel is preached by them. I can pray with them, talk with them, try to understand them, ask questions of them, and share my views with them. I can also respectfully listen to their views.
- I know there are many issues that deserve attention. Our varying views of preservation certainly do. Our views of which translations are accurately translated and which ones are acceptable for use in the church do as well. I hope that all of us will continue to think, to grow, and to love. In the process, I hope that we will see a great harvest of souls saved and discipled and that the gospel will continue to be carried to the ends of the earth.
I love all of you. I am thankful for every person who reached out to challenge me, to disagree with me, and to support me. Come see me anytime. I will buy you a coffee and share with you my latest dad jokes. Trust me, they will be awesome! Just ask any teen who heard me speak this summer. Well, on second thought, maybe you shouldn’t. Just take my word for it. They will be awesome!
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,
7 thoughts on “A Follow-Up to “Five Observations Regarding the KJV-Only Debate””
Two for two💪🏼💪🏼Great response. Thank you brother.
Haha. My daughter was recently at camp in Ringgold LA She told me some about cows….they were great! On another of your blogs I had asked questions about this issue. I appreciated your responses and these other blogs. I was simply asking so I could better lead my kids (who still talk about your sermons during camp). I’ve come to the conclusion there are different “sects” if you will regarding IFB churches. I urge them to stay clear of the “extreme” KJV only crowd and to be VERY discerning. I’ve heard many say that reading any other version is allowing Satan into your home and you can’t know Christ or be saved by reading anything other than the 1611. Biblical scholarship and textual criticism is very important in allowing us to know what the author originally intended. ESV, KJV, NKJV, NASB, are all wonderful and fantastic versions that should be read and studied. The textus receptus and ALL other manuscripts should be considered. Thank you sir!
These have been good articles. Judging from the comments, I think you need to refer people back to your 2016 articles about how to be IFB and get along with others. I am a 2006 PCC grad but I was an accounting major so obviously never took the Greek and Hebrew classes so perhaps I am lacking some knowledge on the KJVO debate. I was raised in a IFB church/school before attending PCC. I have since left the IFB and attend/serve at a Christian church. I just wanted to say from someone no longer in that church that the as average Christian serving in my church and community that I have rarely had discussion about which version I use. It is just a non-issue and I am in the Bible Belt in Southern MO. I can understand the arguments, but I have never understood the arguing. I can disagree with other Christians and love them and fellowship with them. The thought of creating division in the Church over issues such as translation just does not seem Biblical (even the KJV) to me. I pray God continues to bless your ministry and I hope some of the ministers that you reach can stop being so divisive on the issue.
“I can understand the arguments, but I have never understood the arguing.” Love this.
I have to challenge this a little bit.
If you understand the arguments, why don’t you understand the arguing? I really don’t believe you fully understand the issue behind the arguments.
As Christians, we are a faith found in a Book. If we cant decide on what that Book is or the nature of that Book, we essentially have no foundation for our faith.
You could also argue we have no faith. THAT is really the issue. It’s not just KJV. It’s the Bible entirely, the KJV being only the most visible aspect of it.
As such, it can’t just be a passing conversation. It is important because that Book is crucial to our faith. We have to have it sorted out. Thus, the arguments. Thus, the arguing.
When purchasing a new Bible, my son once asked me, “Mom, what is the best version of the Bible?” I am a KJV enthusiast, personally, but I felt the Holy Spirit tug at me, and I responded, “Son, it is the Bible that you read the most.” Sadly, many of the same Christians who spend time criticizing people for the Bible they read do not actually read their own Bible very much. READ IT FIRST, then we can talk about content together.
This one and the last were definitely interesting and I think on-point and poignant.
Bro. Young, there are absolutely and only four views in regard to the KJV. There are:
1. Those Who Use It and Believe It. These people are typically the hard-lined Bible-thumpers we all grew up hearing. They’re good people, and there are several varieties here. Some are convinced of the double-inspiration approach made popular by Peter Ruckman. Others see the KJV as a superior translation and cleave to it accordingly. Basically, this is ground where those who use it, use it because of deeply held convictions.
2. Those Who Use It, but Don’t Believe It. This may sound harsh, but here we find a number of people who see it for more utilitarian purposes. These are the kinds of folks who don’t hold that the KJV is superior, but know that doing anything other than what has been traditional in their church will ruffle a bunch of feathers. These are folks who want unity in the church. They have no problem with the KJV – they just see it as one of the many. Sometimes, you find folks willing to listen to the arguments here. They just stop short of declaring any affinity for it. They use it because it has been used, or because they have a bunch of folks in their church sensitive to it.
3. Those Who Don’t Use It, but Believe It. This is the opposite issue of position 2. These folks do care deeply about the issue, but don’t want it do divide the church. So they don’t take a position because there are a bunch of folks in their church who would argue it from the opposite side.
4. Those Who Don’t Use It, and Don’t Believe It. These folks are the opposite extreme of position 1. They can be very antagonistic toward folks in all columns. These are often the ones pushing for more translations, more higher criticism, more of just about everything.
Where you fall on the spectrum depends a lot on what you believe regarding the translation and translation families, as well as philosophy. But, and here’s the real kicker. None of these four positions are mutually exclusive necessarily, nor are they indicative of whole churches per se. It is entirely possible to find a conservative Southern Baptist Church that officially takes position 2 or 3 to be filled with both 1’s and 4’s. The same can be said just about everywhere, in every denomination. And you find a lot of variety in each category.
In my experience, positions 2 and 3 are the most interchangeable.