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How Extreme Is the “King James Only” Movement?

How Extreme Is the “King James Only” Movement?

The so-called “King James Only” movement has some extremes which range from dangerous to blasphemous.

One KJV extremist has taken it upon himself and his committee to translate the KJV into Russian, without referring to the Hebrew and Greek texts from which the Bible originate.

So now, we will take an English Bible that was translated from a Greek text, and translate the English, not the original Greek, into other languages!

Way too far, folks, way too far. Let the scholars of the nations translate from the Greek manuscripts directly, without the “benefit” of KJV errors… which do abound, though they are minor and do not affect one’s salvation or growth.

Another extreme of KJV-onlyism is downright hatred of those other Bibles and their readers.

Hating and burning non-KJV Bibles is in vogue in some quarters. Jonathan Shelley of Stedfast Baptist Church is on record as having preached a sermon called “People I Hate.”

Says Jonathan, “Your Bible doesn’t have thees and thous? Burn it! It’s a Bible BBQ.”

Burn a Bible? Why no Christian would do that, you say. Not in enlightened Western civilization. Only Muslims or Hindus, or Nazis, or Antifa, or…

No, no. Not just in other lands. Not just in our Portland, Oregon.

This pastor Shelley has an annual Bible burning at his church, now called “Pure Words” Baptist Church. Yes, he invites all via an internet video, to gather up all false Bibles and bring them to church on a given Sunday. He will teach the “truth” about all these Bibles, then the delighted folks will sit and watch the Word of God go up in flames as they sit and eat s’mores around the Bible-provided campfire.

Not sure how many other churches approve of such a practice. Not sure if there are others that may even do it themselves. But my heart is ripped out in anguish over one calling himself a man of God who would dare such a contemptible act.

This is exactly what happened to the Bibles of the Middle Ages, when Rome reigned over the hearts of men. What reigns over the hearts of these Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, I wonder? Fear? Tradition? Hatred?

False teaching, for sure. May God have mercy on “Pastor” Shelley in that Day, and on all who desecrate Scripture.

The KJV movement was not always “-only” based. Great independent Baptists decried the idea in the early years. Consider John R. Rice, no lightweight among fundamentalists:

Rice believed that “the various translations contain, together, the eternal, unchangeable Word of God… A perfect translation of the Bible is humanly impossible… there are no perfect translations. God does not inspire particular translations” (Our God-Breathed Book-The Bible, 1969, 376).

There were others.

Then came Ruckman. Peter Ruckman’s extreme teaching that the King James was not only an inspired translation, but also God’s newly-inspired word that could be used to correct the Greek text itself (!) was part of a package of strange views that catapulted the KJVO movement into unnecessary division and separation. The Cult had arrived.

Men like Ruckman and Jack Hyles were troubled with the idea that evangelicals still espouse, that “only the autographs”, that is the original writings of Scripture, are inspired.

In response to that, before we move on, I must add that if the “original autographs are inspired” doctrine is not true, then all the persons from the second century until 1611 had no Bible.

Hyles and company would have us believe that no true translation of the Bible from the days of the apostles until the days of the KJV translators, existed. Why those poor impoverished saints of 1,500 years!

Even the reformers and the English with their Coverdale and Genevan and Bishops’ Bibles were all hopelessly lost, reading a Bible that was from the enemy of their soul and worthy to be burned.

Ruckman, Hyles, Jack Chick (and his heir), are some of the few voices that have fired up a multitude of falsenesses and caused brother to come against brother needlessly. May their tribe decrease.

And just how widespread is the KJVO phenomenon? There are nearly 7,000 congregations worldwide that are listed as “KJV Independent Fundamentalist Baptist” churches. Over 5,000 are in the United States.

But this “doctrine” is not limited to the IFB people. Members of other brands of Baptist fellowships, along with the older Pentecostal groups, Mormons, Episcopalians (because derived from the church of England/Anglican), Presbyterian churches, Bible churches, and other individuals sprinkled throughout Christendom, will proudly hold up their KJV in your face and condemn you if you cannot match their gesture.

We must repeat, that not all who love the KJV are KJV-only, to whom this treatise is addressed. But too many are…