Justifying the Means of a Version’s Rise to Popularity

Another King James Only Double Standard?

Over a month ago, Erik posed the question: Does King James Onlyism come out of imperialism? over at the Fundamentally Changed blog. The discussion spilled out onto this site as well. My answer to that specific question was, “no.” I do not believe King James Onlyism is a result of imperialism. I have never found imperialistic tendencies within the arguments I’ve read supporting the KJVO position. However, I do believe that imperialism was a factor contributing to the rise of the King James Version (check out the links for the discussion).

Apparently, so did others. Even those who support the KJVO view chimed in at the comments section to give a nod to the idea that English imperialism aided the King James Version’s rise to prominence. Of course, none tried to justify the abuses of the imperialistic system nor everything that ensued during the height of the British Empire. However, the use of imperialism to spread the gospel, the Bible (particularly the KJV), and the modern missions movement was seen as a justifiable mean on the basis of the fact that God providentially used this situation for the furtherance of His cause.

Here’s what some of our King James Only commentators said about this:

Erik’s puerile argument could be easily turned on him as the Critical Text view was propogated at the zenith of the British Empire by the Anglican Establishment, I would not be so crass as to couple this incidental fact with the rise of imperialism. If anything, the RSV is tainted more with imperialism as it is the translation propagated by the imperialists. – PS Furgeson

If we believe that God is in charge and that history unfolds according to His sovereign will, then we are happy to see several points.
1. The Bible had an important place in English History: Alfred, Wycliffe, Tyndale, KJV.
2. God blessed England: the sinking of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the spread of British culture all over the world in the 18th and 19th centuries, which included the spread of the Bible.
3. The Bible spread to all the British colonies.
4. The Bible was preached to the world by British and American missionaries: China, India, and Africa.
5. The Sovereign God providentially used Great Britain to spread His Word all over the world—Praise the Lord!
6. We recognize God’s sovereignty, we see His providence, and we see that the King James Version was the Bible of this people. – Kent Brandenburg

In 1611 the English language was spoken by a mere 3% of the world’s population, but today English has become the closest thing to a universal language in history. He used the King James Bible to carry His words to the far ends of the earth, where it was translated into hundreds of languages by English and American missionaries for over 300 years. The sun never set on the British empire. It was even taken to space by American astronauts and read from there. God knew He would use England, its language and the King James Bible to accomplish all these things long before they happened. It is the only Bible God has providentially used in this way. It is the only Bible believed by thousands upon thousands of believers to be the inspired, infallible and 100% true words of God. – Will Kinney

I for one certainly recognise the perfection of the KJB and the greatness of the British Empire, and see a link between the two; I certainly argue for English to be used in missionary work and for people everywhere to eventually use the KJB; I certainly argue for a national view which is based on the KJB. However, I probably would not accept descriptions of my view as put forward by those who are not for it. – Bibleprotector

I interpret this as saying the English speaking people are not more specially important in the history and development of Christianity in the civilised world than any other language group. But, hasn’t the great modern push for cross-cultural evangelism since William Carey been largely born by the English-speaking peoples, as they took the Gospel (and the KJV as an integral part of that) to every corner of the globe, in the wake of English imperial ‘conquests’ ? – Edwin Clive

Now, I agree. History certainly is His Story. God is in sovereign control, and He uses all sorts of means to accomplish His ends. Of this there is no doubt. But the double standard that I see is this: how can we allow ourselves to think that God providentially uses some historical circumstances for good, when those circumstances involve evil, but not allow the same in other situations? I’m referring to the rise of Bible versions. The King James Onlyist is basically saying, “Yes, imperialism, and all its ills, were used of God for the rise of the King James Version.” But then he turns around and says, “(The means by which) the modern versions rose to popularity are evil, and therefore the modern versions are evil.”

What can we put in those parentheses?

Based on things I’ve heard (others may add more), I would include: the Enlightenment period (and post-Enlightenment thinking); an overzealous fondness of Alexandrian texts; unbelieving critical scholarship; an expensive marketing campaign; intellectualism.

So imperialism gives rise to the KJV and this proves God providentially wants the KJV to be the only acceptable Bible, but if an expensive marketing campaign gave rise to the NIV, that means the NIV is to be shunned. We can do this with other factors leading to the KJV’s rise:

Byzantine scriptoriums preserve much of the underlying text of the KJV. Despite monastic theology, practice and state-churchism, God used it and blessed the results. But a monastery on Mt. Sinai is used to preserve an ancient codex that sheds light on Bibles of old, and the resultant versions are henceforth to be rejected.

Despite more state-churchism and Anglican theology (which is not very compatible with a wide variety of King James Onlyists’ theological convictions), the translators of the KJV were used providentially and God blessed the King James. But, Westcott and Hort were Anglican, and many modern versions are ecumenical, so the they’re all evil.

I could go on. The question is, how do we determine which parts of history were used by God despite the errors contained therein and which parts automatically disqualify their products as a result of the errors contained therein? I submit that you cannot determine it biblically; you need a bias. If your bias is for the KJV, then every historical situation that helped give rise to the King James Version will be seen as a time in which God providentially moved despite that time period’s weaknesses and blessed the results. If you are anti-modern versions, you will disqualify them on the basis of these factors, despite the fact that many are more popular than the KJV at this time. Souls are getting saved by means of modern versions. Missionaries are still being sent out, but with modern versions in hand. So we see that the ends are good; the means aren’t always good. Who’s to say what the will of God is in this situation?

I do not think this standard makes or breaks the KJVO view. My only conclusion is to say this: the argument that the means necessarily disqualify a version because those means contained unbiblical problems should be thrown away in this debate. We do not know why God used imperialism to spread the gospel anymore than why He continues to use modern versions to accomplish the same end. We can only deal with what we have.

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47 thoughts on “Justifying the Means of a Version’s Rise to Popularity

  1. Erik May 20, 2010 / 6:09 pm

    Good article.

    It is fascinating to see the double standard that is applied to history, particularly in the light of the reason discussions we’ve been having. We could go on for hours about examples of the same processes being argued as strengths of the KJV and then being flipped as weaknesses of post-1881 versions.

    Of course this is not without precedence in church history. We do have this profoundly disturbing tendency to revise history whenever it supports our particular sect or belief system. This is characteristic of human history in general, but if there’s one place it really should be minimized, it is in church history.

    Good thoughts; and I can only imagine what the detractors are going to say.

    I am going to register a clarification on the misunderstandings that my post seems to have fostered, probably because of the way I worded it. I meant to posit that KJVO harkens back to imperialism – that this was when English culture dominated the world and there is a longing for that domination – which was involved in but not necessarily synonymous with British imperialism, particularly Victorian value systems. It has less to do with being British than it does with being English-speaking.

  2. Damien T Garofalo May 20, 2010 / 6:29 pm

    absolutely. we all do it, but instead of reading in between the lines, we must deal with what we’ve been given (a Christian epistemology is one of revelation, not our perception, and thank God for that).

    Erik, would you say that it would be better to ask if imperialism gave rise to the King James Version itself (as I agreed in the above post) rather than King James Onlyism, the doctrine?

    anyway, I hope this discussion doesn’t get confined to the imperialism question. we’ll see. . .

    • Erik May 20, 2010 / 7:08 pm

      The KJV itself was not an imperial translation. I don’t think imperialism gave rise to KJVO at all – I’m saying that KJVO is in some ways a longing for the time of dominion.

      As to your other point, I’m not sure that you can separate revelation and perception. Anything revealed must be perceived. Our perception of revelation often produces something almost not quite exactly just off from the truth, which is why (IMHO) theology is best thought of as an art in which the church community participates rather than as a system which one theologian expounds.

      I know…I know…I sound terribly emergent; but I was approaching the Scriptures this way long before I ever read anything by any emergies.

  3. Damien T Garofalo May 20, 2010 / 7:25 pm

    About imperialism – I see what you’re saying more clearly now. The kjvo proponents that I have quoted above, however, still provide the basis for this post, in that they are conceding the point of the KJV’s rise to prominence being a result, at least in part, of imperialism. (and I should have said “rise to the King James Version’s popularity ” in the above comment. You still may disagree but that’s what I meant – not that the KJV is a product, in its creation, of imperialism, but that imperialism helped it spread widely.

    About revelation/perception – yes I agree both are involved. But ultimately, truth is revealed. Or we can say, in order, revelation then perception. But revelation, if you search the scriptures, I think is the basis for our knowing anything. Romans 1 comes to mind. Faith by the Word of Christ, etc., and my favorite passage on this, Matthew 16, wherein Jesus plainly tells Peter that his acknowledgement of Jesus’ Divine Sonship and Messianic nature is a results of revelation from God, and no where else. So I don’t mean so much to separate the two as to say that truth isn’t based on perception, but revelation. Too often, we try to perceive things (unbiblical things at that), by reading in between the lines – case in point, what is happening in this discussion about history and Bible versions. The truth isn’t based on what people think about all these historical circumstances. Finally, I wasn’t referring to a dogmatic theologian when referencing revelation; rather truth which is revealed from God, as communicated through a variety of means, one of which is definitely the church community. That actually sounds more historic than emergent!

    hey…..who says the authors here don’t ever disagree?

    • Erik May 20, 2010 / 8:05 pm

      Actually, I would say I agree with everything you say. Would you say all revelation stands on the same level, or are there degrees of revelation?

      In other words, when God speaks directly to Moses, is that a higher level of revelation than say the Writings, which are clearly men writing without God dictating, but which we would all agree are still inspired.

  4. Damien T Garofalo May 20, 2010 / 8:32 pm

    I haven’t thought about levels of revelation. I say that the Word of God transcends the writings. I certainly do not confine everything God says and reveals to just the scriptures. But I also can’t think of a way in which God’s speaking directly to a prophet is any more or less valuable than God speaking through a prophet. Interesting question.

    • Erik May 21, 2010 / 6:29 am

      It is a question that stems from rabbinical Judaism. Around the time of Jesus (it is oral tradition, so hard to pin down), it became common for the rabbis to refer to what we consider their Scriptures in three parts: Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim – in English, the Law, the Prophets and the Writings.

      They held that Torah is the highest level of revelation because God spoke directly to Moses. Then comes the Prophets who spoke FOR God. Finally there are the Writings in which men received some kind of creative inspiration and wrote things that were not directly from God but still in keeping with His other revelations.

      The reason I point it out is that Jesus uses a similar designation – “I have not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets” – and apostles often refer to portions of the Writings. The Jews, and possibly the early Christians, held to a different view of revelation than most modern Christians. I would argue it is a much bigger view, a much more supernatural one; and we tend to read our view into their use of words, like Paul’s use of ‘God-breathed.’

  5. fundyreformed May 20, 2010 / 9:15 pm

    Great post here Damien. One of the best we’ve produced, I’m sure. I was reading John Gerstner make a similar point about bias a couple days ago. It’s so easy to live in the bias and not be able to step outside (to some degree) and observe that bias.

  6. JasonS May 20, 2010 / 9:29 pm

    This is a must for Re:Fundamentals….whenever Erik gets it up for us 🙂
    Seriously, good job, Damien.
    Good discussion,too.

  7. Bill Brown May 20, 2010 / 10:46 pm

    Even the “God blessed the KJV” imperial argument cannot be consistently applied. The Latin Vulgate reigned over Christendom 3x as long as the KJV & endorses a different text-type. Just another asymmetry inherent in the illogic.

    • Erik May 21, 2010 / 6:30 am

      Good point, Bill.

  8. Kent Brandenburg May 21, 2010 / 11:37 am

    Imperialism doesn’t enter in to my heart and my mind one speck as it relates to the KJV. I’ve preached through the whole book of Isaiah very carefully and what I found in that book is that God has a way that He wants us to view history. I’d love to develop that here for you, flesh it out, but it would take awhile and perhaps I’ll write a post on it sometime. God does want us to to connect the present with the past and the future, and the past with the present and the future, to see how the past, present, and then future interrelate. Only believers can do that, because only believers know the future because of the prophetic material of scripture.

    I’m afraid that my little list of 6 points in being lumped in with everything else is being used in an entirely different sense and to communicate something different than how I was using it. I believe that God blessed because of the love for the Word of God, just like God blessed Israel when they loved His Deuteronomic code. The English were a people that loved the Word of God. That’s it. Did God bless them because they were English? No. Do I have some special love for the English language? No. I don’t think we’ll be speaking it in heaven. Scripture doesn’t say but I would vote that it would be Hebrew because it was the original language of Adam and it is timeless, unlike Greek and English. It seems to be a perfect fit for Heaven. But the English were blessed because of their historic love for Scripture, especially as it relates to other people.

    Do I think that God providentially used evil for His own purposes at times? Yes. That’s a big part of the OT with Assyria, Babylon, and Medo-Persia.

    I think that a downfall of the English speaking people does tie into the modern versions, because we’re playing around with the text that was preserved and available. God gave that to us. We should see that in history. That would be something to learn from history. So we’ve got something excellent and we change it, alter it, and then set ourselves up to be regularly changing it—NA 1, 2, 3, 24, 27. Now more than ever we have authority issues with scripture. I think we are in a sad state if we can’t see that is tied into placing ourselves over Scripture through textual criticism. Do I think people can still be saved through the modern versions? Of course, but their existence does more damage than good because they have diminished the authority of scripture in people’s minds. When people know we’re non-stop tweaking the Bible, they see man as the authority instead of God. I think this is a simple thing to see in history. And it is why we’re at a point where men have a difficult time with interpretation and application. And immorality is more rampant than ever.

    One more thing. I defy anyone to find one place where I have said one thing bad about Wescott and Hort. I have been ambivalent toward them in my approach to this issue.

    • Erik May 21, 2010 / 11:49 am

      KB, I think you’re painting textual criticism with a broad brush; but all the same, I think there’s nothing inherently wrong with identifying yourself with a people who loved the Word of God.

      If possible, I think it would benefit the discussion if you could provide actual proof of this love for the Bible among English speaking people.

      And I will make some stipulations on this. This proof has to come from a source that is not a KJVO source. Further, the source cannot simply be some quotation. It must be actual quantifiable proof.

      Here is my reason. The broad brush statement that the English-speaking people loved the Word of God is often repeated in KJVO sources but I have never seen any kind of proof of this in the actual history. If you could produce such a source, I would need to reconsider my view of the English-speaking people at the time.

      That being said, I would also point out that ‘love for the Word of God’ must also reflect your own view of the Word of God.Their love of the Word of God must reflect their bias toward your specific version of the Word.

    • Damien T Garofalo May 21, 2010 / 12:31 pm

      I appreciate your response, Kent. And if you thought I accused you, personally, of bashing Westcott and Hort, let it be known that I didn’t. I’m just counterbalancing the charges of KJVO against the modern versions in a general sense.

      And let me just reiterate my point once more: imperialism is not the issue. The issue is that all sides of this debate admit that God uses various means (means which include evil) to His own ends. Those ends have no bearing on which version should be exclusively used.

    • JasonS May 21, 2010 / 12:57 pm

      KB,
      “I’ve preached through the whole book of Isaiah very carefully and what I found in that book is that God has a way that He wants us to view history. I’d love to develop that here for you, flesh it out, but it would take awhile and perhaps I’ll write a post on it sometime.”

      I, for one, would find that to be an interesting read, I think.
      Let us know when you post it.

    • Bill Brown May 21, 2010 / 6:08 pm

      Mr Brandenburg,

      A number of your reasons given suggest the same problem I’ve seen over and over with the KJVO advocates, the using of history when it is convenient, the abandonment of it when it is not, and rhetoric that cannot be substantiated.

      For example, you state:

      I think that a downfall of the English speaking people does tie into the modern versions, because we’re playing around with the text that was preserved and available.

      END

      But this is an argument that is circular at its core. Furthermore, it is an OPINION and nothing more. Basically, you assert an opinion and then you assert another one – only you subtly suggest that your opinion in the latter case is fact.

      Then you state:

      God gave that to us. We should see that in history. That would be something to learn from history.

      END QUOTE

      But this is special pleading. Could I not just as easily argue that God gave us several Syriac, Latin, Coptic, etc versions? How this somehow becomes the advocacy of one Bible is a link that no KJV Onlyist has ever been able to explain. Apparently, numerous Bibles were just fine in history – but now that’s suddenly a bad thing.

      Kent:
      So we’ve got something excellent and we change it, alter it, and then set ourselves up to be regularly changing it—NA 1, 2, 3, 24, 27. Now more than ever we have authority issues with scripture.

      Bill:

      But could we not say the same thing about the various versions of the TR? And that was occurring back when – allegedly – people held to a pure text.

      Kent:
      I think we are in a sad state if we can’t see that is tied into placing ourselves over Scripture through textual criticism.

      Bill:

      But you’re doing the same thing when you state that the KJV is the pure text. Now right here is where you always change subjects and start trying the canon argument. But the onus is upon you, Kent, to show me how these can even possibly be similar. Even assuming as close a connection as you do, the canon was recognized over 1,000 years before this so-called pure text. This doesn’t bode well for your argument.

      Kent:
      Do I think people can still be saved through the modern versions? Of course, but their existence does more damage than good because they have diminished the authority of scripture in people’s minds.

      Bill:

      Right here is where your inconsistency at least abandons some of the Ruckman-Hyles school of thought. But the problem is this: IF we are born again BY THE WORD OF GOD (KJV, I Peter 1:23) – and ONLY the KJV is the Word of God – then I fail to see how your position is the slightest bit consistent.

      Kent:
      When people know we’re non-stop tweaking the Bible, they see man as the authority instead of God. I think this is a simple thing to see in history. And it is why we’re at a point where men have a difficult time with interpretation and application. And immorality is more rampant than ever.

      Bill:

      Now Kent – how do YOU KNOW immorality is ‘more rampant than ever?’ It may be more out in the open, but I suspect men have always lived as men. Just because we didn’t have text messaging and the Internet to expose someone within five seconds doesn’t mean prior sinners (or even Christians) were any more pure than people today.

      Thank you.

    • Kent Brandenburg May 21, 2010 / 7:57 pm

      Bill writes: “A number of your reasons given suggest the same problem I’ve seen over and over with the KJVO advocates, the using of history when it is convenient, the abandonment of it when it is not, and rhetoric that cannot be substantiated.”

      Where have I done this, Bill? You say I’ve got a problem and you give no proof of it.

      Bill writes: “But this is an argument that is circular at its core. Furthermore, it is an OPINION and nothing more. Basically, you assert an opinion and then you assert another one – only you subtly suggest that your opinion in the latter case is fact.”

      We do know that men took a different approach to scripture pre-enlightenment, Bill. That isn’t an opinion. They trusted they had a perfect text in the apographa. There is good reason to tie morality into the authority of scripture. Read 2 Peter on that. The scoffers walking after their own lusts attack the veracity and authority of scripture. I agree that some of what I write is opinion, but it isn’t unsubstantiated opinion.

      Bill writes: “But this is special pleading. Could I not just as easily argue that God gave us several Syriac, Latin, Coptic, etc versions? How this somehow becomes the advocacy of one Bible is a link that no KJV Onlyist has ever been able to explain. Apparently, numerous Bibles were just fine in history – but now that’s suddenly a bad thing.”

      Are you saying that the availability of the textus receptus and the Hebrew MT weren’t from God? God’s people believed they were for hundreds of years. I think that King James Version people have explained in many different ways a one Bible stance, but this thread isn’t the place for another time.

      Bill writes: “But could we not say the same thing about the various versions of the TR? And that was occurring back when – allegedly – people held to a pure text.”

      I don’t think it is allegedly here. This several editions of the TR is very old ground. Those editions were barely different and at the end the church settled on a text. This is not occurring with the NA 1-27, etc. They haven’t settled.

      Bill writes: “But you’re doing the same thing when you state that the KJV is the pure text. Now right here is where you always change subjects and start trying the canon argument. But the onus is upon you, Kent, to show me how these can even possibly be similar. Even assuming as close a connection as you do, the canon was recognized over 1,000 years before this so-called pure text. This doesn’t bode well for your argument.”

      Always change subjects? Where’s JasonS to my rescue? It seems you just changed the subject. I’ll just leave this alone, because it’s hard to understand what you are saying.

      Bill writes: “Right here is where your inconsistency at least abandons some of the Ruckman-Hyles school of thought. But the problem is this: IF we are born again BY THE WORD OF GOD (KJV, I Peter 1:23) – and ONLY the KJV is the Word of God – then I fail to see how your position is the slightest bit consistent.”

      Abandon Hyles and Ruckman? I didn’t have to abandon them. I was never with them in the first place. And then you make ask me a question on the basis of a Hyles argument. I dealt with this in a footnote on 1 Peter 1:23-25 in our book. The Critical Text is 93% the same as the TR, so we have the Word of God there.

      Bill writes: “Now Kent – how do YOU KNOW immorality is ‘more rampant than ever?’ It may be more out in the open, but I suspect men have always lived as men. Just because we didn’t have text messaging and the Internet to expose someone within five seconds doesn’t mean prior sinners (or even Christians) were any more pure than people today.”

      We’ve got plenty of evidence that things have gotten much worse. Read William Bennett’s index of the leading cultural indicators. 80%+ of young men before 20 lose their virginity. Divorce has multiplied exponentially. Since 2000, the number of atheists has doubled in the U.S. Homosexuality has become acceptable in a large percentage. Homosexual marriage was not a thought when I was growing up. Things have gotten worse, Bill.

      And read a conservative evangelical, John MacArthur in Truth Wars. Read the books by David Wells. Things have gotten much worse even according to them. They aren’t much for explaining why it has happened, but they say it is happening.

    • JasonS May 21, 2010 / 9:44 pm

      KB,
      “Where’s JasonS to my rescue?”
      That was uncalled for. This is YOUR discussion. Anyway, he’s right. You obfuscate and avoid at any time and place possible.
      Get over yourself and recognize what you do before you get banned for acting so rudely.

    • Kent Brandenburg May 22, 2010 / 12:10 am

      I think it is interesting when multiple version guys talk about obfuscation. So what is the Bible? Get ready for obfuscation. It’s a simple question, but it’s going to be a drawn out, very muddy answer.

      JasonS, you remind me of one of those fish on talk radio who has his finger on the off button. If you can’t have your way, you pick up your toys and go home. Call the Waaambulance! You are pretentious, arrogant, and offensive, but at the same time ultra sensitive about yourself, a high degree of me-sensitivity. And you have the incredible double standard, only picky for the home team. Guess what? You’re welcome to come and bring your discussion to my blog any time. You won’t have to be looking over your shoulder for the tone police.

      A few weeks ago, you pull the race card because of a statement that I made that was thoroughly not about skin color. It shows quite a bit of insecurity. Perhaps you are feeling guilty about something? Where do you pastor? I just preached our kindergarten graduation tonight. Our kindergarten teacher, whom my wife and I discipled, is black. In her class were six kindergarteners, two Indian (from India), one Chinese, one black, and two hispanic. No whites. You’ve got this incredible touchiness about yourself that any and everyone not in your little club can see, but you have no problem with that kind of slander. Look at yourself in the mirror.

    • Erik May 22, 2010 / 12:51 am

      That’s it, Ken. We have tried to dialogue with you and you constantly insult people.

      Jason and I happen to disagree on an awful lot of stuff; but your attack is completely unwarranted and groundless. You have crossed the line one time too many. I cannot ban you myself, but I am recommending to the administrators that you be banned from this site.

    • JasonS May 22, 2010 / 5:45 am

      Kent,
      I think you should notice that I left a very nice comment about your desire to post on Isaiah. It was sincere. I would indeed like to see that. In return you provoke me.
      I’ve simply had enough. This is Bob’s blog, but the rest of us are moderators. In a sense this is OUR blog. If you were in my house I’d not tolerate you speaking to me as you have. I’d put your backside on the street and on your way home. The same manners that you should show in my home are the manners that you should show here.
      I have not called on anyone to help me. Neither have I shut you off as you insinuated. I have called on you to tone down the rhetoric and discuss issues as an adult Christian. Instead of doing so you act like a petulant child, call names, and provoke. You wonder why I don’t comment on your blog. Well, it’s because it’s your territory and you’ll always win, because you set the rules. We’ve been kind and bent the rules here. We’ve tolerated your insults, slanders, and outright lies. For example, you ask about what I would call the Bible. I have answered that question in a post on this blog. You didn’t like the answer, so you declared that I haven’t answered at all.
      We have truly wanted you to hang around here and comment and engage us on an intellectual level. You persist in making everything personal and then blaming us for attacking you when we respond to your obnoxious comments.
      It is now time to stop the foolishness.

  9. Kent Brandenburg May 21, 2010 / 3:40 pm

    Erik,

    You would be hard pressed to find in history a people that are even close to what we see with the English speaking in love for the Bible. This isn’t history that is difficult to find. I don’t think you judge this by examining a majority of Englishmen. We see it back at the beginnings of the English language there was a disposition toward the Bible from Venerable Bede to Alfred to Wycliffe to Tyndale to KJV. Consider William Carey’s translation of the Bible into various Indian languages and dialects. Consider the toil of Robert Moffat to translate the Bible into Sechwana in South Africa. The Chinese got their Bible translation from the British. All of this is evidence of English love for the Bible.

    The King James Version became the standard Bible for these Bible loving people for hundreds of years.

    • Erik May 21, 2010 / 3:53 pm

      Not to downplay the work of these people, but would you contend that there are fewer English-speaking people who love the Word of God now than there were then? And how do you prove such a subjective statement?

      I have friends who work for Bibles International, working with native speakers to translate the Scriptures into their own language. They are often replacing the Bibles translated by the missionaries of the age you’re speaking of not because they rely on the wrong text but because the translations themselves are awful. Are my friends less spiritual because they speak English now rather than in the 19th century? Is their passion for the Word somehow lessened?

      Your argument breaks down because in the period you’re describing, the KJV was the Bible of the English-speaking people because there was no other permitted translation. In the British Empire, it was illegal to use any other translation of the Bible. Any new effort at translation had to be disguised as a ‘paraphrase’ and even then the opposition was intense. And any suggestion of revision or retranslation was stoutly opposed not by your group of the faithful but by the academic, political and religious elites.

      The English-speaking scholars of your period of use were already arguing for a revision of the Greek text, and by necessity the English. Here’s just a few items to note:

      * In 1684, Richard Baxter was imprisoned for paraphrasing the New Testament.
      * Daniel Mace, a NT scholar, printed a colloquial translation of the Scriptures in 1729; but his work was ignored because 1) he was a Presbyterian and 2) his translation dared to use current language.
      * Richard Bently of Cambridge proposed to restore the text of the New Testament by “By taking two thousands errors out of the Pope’s Vulgate, and as many out of the Protestant Pope Stephen’s…” His Protestant Pop Stephen is the editor of the Stephanus 1550 textus receptus.
      * In 1731, Leonard Twells wrote a call for correcting Stephanus and was literally shouted down by the Anglican Church.
      * As early as 1741, Robert Lowth was calling for a revision of the KJV translation of Hebrew poetry because it did not take into consideration what was becoming known about the workings of said poetry.
      * There were somewhere around 40-45 translations into English of the whole Bible, books or sections done between 1700 and 1800.
      * It was Archbishop Thomas Secker who sidelined the idea of revising the KJV in the early 1760’s. At that time, it was being seriously by many scholars. (I cite Neil Hitchin’s 1999 essay on “The Politics of English Bible Translation in Georgian Britain” for further notes.)

      In short, it was not your God-fearing remnant who kept the KJV in print and refused any kind of revision. It was the monstrous behemoth that is the Anglican Church.

      I will conclude with also pointing out that during this entire time (from the first printing of the KJV in 1611 until the American War for Independence), there were something like 65 different British editions of the KJV floating around – all with variants that were confusing and frustrating. Not surprisingly, the Americans were almost completely cut out of printing Bibles, having to import them from the Crown-licensed printers.

      So much so that in 1790, Isaiah Thomas – an American printer – compiled every edition he could find and produced a new edition reconciling the editions. (By the way, Thomas’ work was masterful and the basis of all American editions since.)

      The Americans not only consolidated the KJV text when the British were still wallowing in edition frenzy. They also created something known as “Self-interpreting” Bibles which included paraphrases of, in John Brown’s words ‘the most obscure or important parts.’

      I say all of this to point out that your argument that people used only the KJV because they loved God’s Word is a misleading, broad brushstroke. There is much more to the story that you’re not including. I don’t think you’re doing it intentionally, but it is a misleading statement nonetheless. If anything, there was at least as many God-fearing, Bible-loving people trying to correct the KJV as there were using it in the ways you outline in your comment.

    • Kent Brandenburg May 21, 2010 / 8:16 pm

      Erik writes: “Not to downplay the work of these people, but would you contend that there are fewer English-speaking people who love the Word of God now than there were then? And how do you prove such a subjective statement?”

      I really didn’t say this in my comment. I wasn’t basing anything on numbers. Do I think there are fewer English speaking people who love the Word of God now then then? A smaller percentage based on the apostasy in Great Britain and what I see in the U.S.

      Erik writes: “I have friends who work for Bibles International, working with native speakers to translate the Scriptures into their own language. They are often replacing the Bibles translated by the missionaries of the age you’re speaking of not because they rely on the wrong text but because the translations themselves are awful. Are my friends less spiritual because they speak English now rather than in the 19th century? Is their passion for the Word somehow lessened?”

      I know nothing about your friends. See answer to first set of questions.

      Erik writes: “Your argument breaks down because in the period you’re describing, the KJV was the Bible of the English-speaking people because there was no other permitted translation. In the British Empire, it was illegal to use any other translation of the Bible. Any new effort at translation had to be disguised as a ‘paraphrase’ and even then the opposition was intense. And any suggestion of revision or retranslation was stoutly opposed not by your group of the faithful but by the academic, political and religious elites.”

      I’m not really arguing one way or another about translation, Erik. This is kind of a red herring. And you say, “my argument breaks down.” What argument are you talking about? Because this has almost nothing to do with my comment. I said that the English speaking people loved the Bible. Maybe you are talking about my last sentence. The KJV was the standard Bible for these Bible-loving people for hundreds of years. You seem to be saying because they couldn’t use any other Bible. In general, I don’t think you are correct.

      And I don’t think my point has been refuted, that is, that the English speaking people, as compared to other language groups, was and has been a Bible loving people. And that the KJV was their standard for hundreds of years. You have not shown with your examples that either of those are wrong. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were attempts at other editions and other translations. They didn’t succeed, however.

    • Erik May 21, 2010 / 8:30 pm

      Ken,

      First, “Would you contend…” implies a further question based on your statement, not a restatement of your comment.

      Second, by BIBLE, you mean the KJV. You can’t all of the sudden backpedal and pretend that you don’t. All along you have argued that the KJV is the only Bible for the true Bible-believing, Word-loving English-speaking people.

      The fact is that there certainly are people who speak English and love the Bible; but it is the Bible, not the KJV. I believer that my post proved quite succinctly that BIBLE is bigger than the TR and the KJV; and in fact people who loved the Bible and spoke English were fighting against the stranglehold monopoly of the Crown-licensed KJV all during the time you claim they were using it as their standard.

      As to whether your point was refuted, I’ll leave that judgment to the others reading this because to be honest, I’m not interested in persuading you – only pointing out the misleading way you’re saying history supports your view while not providing actual history.

      I believe that I have presented valid historical support that denies your claim. I’ll let the others observing this exchange make the judgment as to whether it answers your unhistorical statements.

  10. Kent Brandenburg May 21, 2010 / 11:51 pm

    Eric,

    By Bible, I mean the TR and Hebrew Masoretic. You should ask what I mean. Backpedal? You guys are a piece of work. I’ve said the English loved the Bible. I understand they had Tyndale and the Great Bible and the Bishop’s Bible before they had the KJV. Is this typical of you just to put words in people’s mouths? Where they landed was the KJV as a standard. You say that it was in essence only because people were too afraid of the government. I’ve not read any mainstream books on the KJV that have said that, and I’m talking God’s Secretaries by Nicolson.

    You’ve presented statements. They are made by you. And you’re right. People will have to judge them.

    Not providing history? Wow. What I have I said that is unhistorical? You made bullet statements without documentation or context. You’ve done nothing to point out anything misleading or unhistorical.

    • Bill Brown May 22, 2010 / 7:41 pm

      Kent,

      I am curious here about one thing. If as you state you mean ‘TR’ when you say Bible, does that mean you reject the KJV readings without TR support?

  11. Erik May 22, 2010 / 12:42 am

    My friend,

    I was not talking about Tyndale or the Great Bible or the Bishop’s Bible before the KJV. Please re-read what I posted. I am speaking very specifically about the time period when the KJV was supposedly the standard of English Bibles.

    I have shown both verifiably and accurately that people knew the KJV needed to be revised and in places retranslated, that prominent Englishmen who loved the Bible were calling for a correction of the English AND the editions of the Greek New Testament used. They were also saying quite plainly that the KJV translators did not understand much of the Hebrew of the MT and it needed to be corrected.

    History is my field, specifically the history of the English language.

    I plainly and clearly cited a very reputable source in my list, which you missed apparently – Neil Hitchin’s 1999 essay on “The Politics of English Bible Translation in Georgian Britain.” It appeared in JSTOR, and is available to you if you pay the online subscription fee or go research it at the library.

    You can also read The Bible in English by David Daniell. Dr. Daniell was the Professor of English at University College London for several decades and is the world’s most renown scholar on Tyndale and the Bible in English translation during the period we’re talking about (and just to be clear again, that is Jacobean and Georgian England).

    The Bible in English is a masterful and respectful survey of the history of the Bible in English which not only reflects the actual historical documents (all of which are cited in his massive bibliography) and shows tremendous respect for the Word of God but also, ironically contradicts your statements.

    I’m at home at the moment, but if you’d like, I can pull up at least a dozen other sources for you from a wide variety of peer-reviewed publications, and if you’re willing to pay the shipping costs, I can get you the facsimiles of the original documents. I’ve done that type of research on this very subject before.

    You cite Adam Nicholson. I assume you own the book then. I find it hard to believe that you support Adam Nicholson’s book. Especially since Nicholson refers to the translators as: “[a] group of near-anonymous divines, muddled, drunk, self-serving, ambitious, ruthless, obsequious, pedantic and flawed as they were…”

    Beside that, Nicholson’s only claim to scholastic merit is his peerage as 5th Baron Carnock. He doesn’t even work a job – he’s a gentleman farmer. His work was not even peer-reviewed (as both Hitchins and Daniell’s works are). It is exactly what I said you were using – pop history.

    I return to my original statement. History does not support your statements. I’ve cited sources. I’ve stated things plainly. You, my friend, continue try to obfuscate and provide abstractions.

    When I read your first comments, I was sitting at my desk. I rotated my chair to the side, reached to slightly above eye level and with ease, I pulled down Daniell’s book – quite possibly the most comprehensive single volume history of the Bible in English ever written. I opened it quickly to the chapters dealing with this very issue (chapters 30-34, if I’m not mistaken) and checked the copious citations throughout
    so I could cite his sources properly and get the dates correct. I then used my JSTOR subscription to pull up the articles Daniell referred to (including that by Hitchin which I referenced earlier) in order to verify that he wasn’t quoting sources out of context.

    And you responded with, “Nope. I’ve never heard it so it isn’t true.”

    Wait. I don’t want to paraphrase you because you’ll turn it around. Let me quote you directly:

    KB: I’ve not read any mainstream books on the KJV that have said that, and I’m talking God’s Secretaries by Nicolson.

    Guess what. I have. I own several. They’re sitting on my shelf. I can make photocopies of the citations for you, if you’d like.

    So, if there’s anyone who is “a piece of work” it is you, my friend. I’ve been direct and plain. You continue to answer the history with a rhetorical form of “I don’t believe it, so it isn’t true.”

    • Kent Brandenburg May 22, 2010 / 1:02 am

      Eric,

      I can’t really comment on books I haven’t read. It’s a long drawn out discussion that I’m sure you would want to have. I’m open to find out something that was really happening in history. You say you are an expert. I can’t say whether you are or you’re not, but I would have to read the books you’ve read to make an evaluation. But I have this question: Are you saying that the King James Version was not the standard Bible for the English speaking people for hundreds of years? You’ve not really come down on that statement one way or another. What I’m also reading from you is that English speaking Christians thought they needed an improvement on the Greek text, and you can prove that. As a matter of history, I haven’t even read that from the textual critics, including Aland and Metzger. I read just the opposite, and I read it also from well-read historians, like Muller.

    • Kent Brandenburg May 22, 2010 / 1:09 am

      One more thing—I’ve read a lot of history. It’s tough to be an expert on several parts of it all at once. At some point, we’re only reading experts. And then the experts disagree. And people come at things from their particular bias or bent. I can’t say I can even evaluate that about you. I would have to read what you’ve read. You talk like you know you’re an expert. I would be happy for you if you were. But I don’t know that.

      Regarding Nicolson, it wouldn’t surprise me if he wasn’t. I also read McGrath’s history of the King James. I would not say that I’m on a scholarly level on that. You are saying that you are. I would wonder if other scholars would say that you are. I would personally have a difficult time saying I was a scholar. I would want other men to praise me on that one and not my own lips. However, with all that said, I’m not convinced by the few things that you have written that the KJV did not become the standard for the English speaking people for hundreds of years.

    • Erik May 22, 2010 / 1:22 am

      Good bye, Kent.

  12. Bill Brown May 22, 2010 / 7:27 am

    IN RESPONSE TO MR. BRANDENBURG

    K:
    Where have I done this, Bill? You say I’ve got a problem and you give no proof of it.

    Bill:

    Kent is referring to my comment about the fact that the KJVOs cite history when it allegedly favors them but abandon it otherwise. He then states I have not provided an example. But as a matter of fact, I DID provide an example – in the very next sentence. You state that the downfall of the English people is tied to modern versions. This is an OPINION – it is NOT history, Kent. You are confounding the two. Indeed, England’s move from world power to incidental was caused by their moving from a creditor nation to a debtor one – just like the USA has been doing over the past generation.

    K:
    We do know that men took a different approach to scripture pre-enlightenment, Bill. That isn’t an opinion.

    B:
    Are you saying they did not do textual criticism, Kent? I could lodge a number of criticisms on this, most notably this one: why in the world do you folks ASSUME that just because pre-Enlightenment approach was different from post that pre is automatically correct? In point of fact, the paradigm shift really began when John Mill noted 30,000 variants within the editions of the TR. Once that FACT was observed, things changed.

    K:
    They trusted they had a perfect text in the apographa. There is good reason to tie morality into the authority of scripture. Read 2 Peter on that. The scoffers walking after their own lusts attack the veracity and authority of scripture. I agree that some of what I write is opinion, but it isn’t unsubstantiated opinion.

    B:
    Now, were these scoffers Peter wrote about pre or post-Enlightenment? And I’m not sure how this ties in with your prior claim about England. It is a POSSIBLE application, I guess, but it’s also a stretch.

    K:
    Are you saying that the availability of the textus receptus and the Hebrew MT weren’t from God?

    No, but you avoided my question. You have TONS of different versions that reflect various text-types. In most cases you have MORE THAN ONE VERSION (Syriac Peshiddo, Harclean Syriac) in any given region. Hence, I’m saying (and now proving) that your “one version onlyism” is ahistorical. And yes, you did ignore it because instead you jumped over to suggesting something erroneous about my view of the TR or the Hebrew MT.

    Finally, there was no TR until 1516. There was to be sure a Byzantine text-type, but none of the versions prior to that is ever held up by you folks as an inerrant one. And that’s a major problem with your view.

    K:
    God’s people believed they were for hundreds of years. I think that King James Version people have explained in many different ways a one Bible stance, but this thread isn’t the place for another time.

    B:
    If you are referring to the KJV Onlyists, yes, they’ve given us explanations that hold no water and – once again – are ahistorical. Even the KJV translators themselves specifically stated that a VARIETY of translations is a GOOD thing.

    K:
    I don’t think it is allegedly here. This several editions of the TR is very old ground. Those editions were barely different and at the end the church settled on a text. This is not occurring with the NA 1-27, etc. They haven’t settled.

    B:
    The point of the various editions of the TR is to demonstrate your inconsistency. And you’re saying these versions were BARELY different? You mean the first two TRs NOT having the Comma Johnanneum and the later ones do is BARELY?

    Furthermore – you’re ignoring the fact that the ONLY REASON the TR is ‘settled’ is because it is no longer used as a textual basis for any prominent Bible versions other than the KJV. Nor does the KJV infallibly reflect any single edition of the TR that existed at the time it was translated (the 1894 Scrivener TR is an anachronism; please don’t try that).

    K:
    Always change subjects? Where’s JasonS to my rescue? It seems you just changed the subject. I’ll just leave this alone, because it’s hard to understand what you are saying.

    B:
    No, it isn’t. I’ve read your blog, Kent. You try to insinuate there’s somehow a similarity between the canon of Scripture and the KJV. That argument would barely work – if the KJV had been translated in the fourth century or earlier.

    K:
    Abandon Hyles and Ruckman? I didn’t have to abandon them. I was never with them in the first place. And then you make ask me a question on the basis of a Hyles argument. I dealt with this in a footnote on 1 Peter 1:23-25 in our book. The Critical Text is 93% the same as the TR, so we have the Word of God there.

    B:
    Kent – the point was this: Ruckman and Hyles at least are something that you are not (or at least you are not demonstrating here; I defer finality on this judgment pending future discussion): CONSISTENT. They realize the divergences from the TR that show BOTH cannot be ‘the Word of God’ if one assumes all their other prior notions. So instead they opt for the advanced revelation view. And Hyles even goes so far in “Enemies of Soulwinning” as to say a person cannot be born again without the KJV. While that may cause many of you KJVOs to cringe, at least Hyles is CONSISTENT.

    Oh, and you do hold Ruckman’s basic view on the LXX. I suspect that in reality when the TR diverges from the KJV, you (just like Cloud and Waite) opt for the KJV. If so then in reality the only difference in your positions is FUNCTION.

    K:
    We’ve got plenty of evidence that things have gotten much worse. Read William Bennett’s index of the leading cultural indicators. 80%+ of young men before 20 lose their virginity.
    Divorce has multiplied exponentially. Since 2000, the number of atheists has doubled in the U.S. Homosexuality has become acceptable in a large percentage. Homosexual marriage was not a thought when I was growing up. Things have gotten worse, Bill.

    B:
    Again, Kent, I would make a few points here. First, you’re ONLY talking about America. This view borders on provincial – as if somehow we have been above stuff that used to be done in silence. But as I noted I suspect that these sins are no more prominent than before. Polygamy doesn’t occur here but it has occurred in other cultures around the world for millennia. Atheists are more pronounced and public. Why? Because they have found each other and realize there’s more of them than before. How? The Internet now enables an atheist in India to converse daily with one in California.

    And let’s assume – just for the sake of argument – that immorality IS worse. OK, let’s just grant that. How in the world can you POSSIBLY say this is because of modern Bible versions?

    Are Gail Riplinger’s three marriages the fault of the KJV? What about Ruckman’s three? What about Bob Gray’s molestation? He used the KJV alone and was vocal about it. What about J. Michael Bates’ resignation for an unnamed moral failure? These are all people who have vocally espoused the KJVO view. Consequently, you cannot argue that ‘modern versions’ caused their problem. And this again gets to the issue of consistency. You cannot blame their very public sins on the modern versions – so do you blame it on the KJV? If you don’t then your argument seems pretty hollow to me.

    K:
    And read a conservative evangelical, John MacArthur in Truth Wars. Read the books by David Wells. Things have gotten much worse even according to them. They aren’t much for explaining why it has happened, but they say it is happening.

    B:
    Once again, these are appeals to authority written during a time after communication expanded. And once again the argument uses America as a control group that was somehow above it.

    The reality just might be that we were more hypocritical about it. That is something to consider.

    God bless,

    Bill

  13. fundyreformed May 22, 2010 / 7:48 am

    ******

    Okay. We’ll let Kent reply 1 more time to Bill if he wants. Then he’ll be banned for the time being.

    In a little while we’ll post a specific set of rules for commenters to follow over here on our turf. Some of the fellows we’ve banned have been banned elsewhere. We do want discussion, but it must be productive and charitable.

    Those we’ve banned can still comment, their stuff will end up in our moderation queue, and we may let one of the comments through.

    That’s where we’re at for now with comments.

    ******

    • JasonS May 22, 2010 / 7:57 am

      Bob,
      Is it possible for you to talk to Kent about his tone?
      I truly wish to read his arguments. I only wish for his arguments to be something other than ad hominems.
      I hate to see anyone banned, and I honestly (for some reason that I cannot discern) think that we could all benefit from a calm dialogue with Kent, if he will see fit to reform his approach.

  14. Damien T Garofalo May 22, 2010 / 10:22 am

    Well….I think some of the discussion was pretty good. Believer it or not, it was basically on topic.

    I think we need to keep in mind how easy it is to misinterpret things when they are typed in a comment box rather than said aloud. There were some strong things said on both sides, and Kent has been alone in this discussion on his side of the issue. That’s no excuse for insults, but I would hate to see him banned.

    I hope more KJVO would come over here and discuss the issues. Even within this discussion about tone and what not, there was a semblance of a relevant exchange between Kent and Erik concerning the English Bible. It’s things like that we need to focus on, and hopefully learn from one another. We ALL need to do our part in halting this issue from becoming personal (and again, it happens on both sides. Some KJVO that we’ve run into here have claimed we bashed them – which I would dispute, but I can see where they’re coming from. Take a look, though at what’s been said about us over at Jackhammer’s blog and you’ll see the opposite).

    Anyway, in hopes that Kent did not go away, I would have one question. Who is determine what the church “settled” on anyway? Well, I think it should be the church. And the fact that the church, at large, is not using the KJV anymore means that the church, in fact, has not settled on it. Or, did the church cease being the church once it rejected the KJV?

    • Bill Brown May 22, 2010 / 10:56 am

      Damien,

      The very notion that “the church” (however one defines it) somehow settled or determined either the books in the Bible or which Bible to use is another point that could be aligned under ‘ahistoricity of the KJVO position.’

      In that infamous Pensacola Christian series featuring Ted Letis and Dell Johnson, Letis (in his response to James White) made the comment “the church made a deliberate decision” in determining which text-type to use.

      Which church? Which council? Furthermore, what does one do with Aland’s research showing the shifting majority in ‘the church’ away from Alexandrian to Byzantine? Does that mean the prior church had the wrong manuscripts?

    • JasonS May 22, 2010 / 10:57 am

      Damien,
      We can only hope that my efforts to clarify things on Fundamentally Changed will bear fruit so that we can continue to discuss with Kent.

    • fundyreformed May 22, 2010 / 12:18 pm

      I’ll work on a clarifying post about moderation at this blog in the very near future, guys. I agree we don’t want to kick out dissenting voices. But we can ban them from specific threads or shut comments on a specific post down when it devolves.

    • Erik May 22, 2010 / 3:32 pm

      If you want my two cents, I say one of the rules needs to be that any statement needs to be supported with proper citation. To be honest, I am sick and tired of having research ridiculed without support. I think the rule should apply to us as authors and to the commenters.

      I’m guilty of being lazy and not citing sources as much as the next guy, but when it comes down to it, if pressed, I can access the primary and secondary sources drawn from; and everyone should be able to do that or they have no business speaking to the issue at hand.

      In academia, it is required that there be at least two independent primary sources to provide corroboration. And these sources need to be verifiable because we all know how people like to cite things out of context.

  15. Bill Brown May 22, 2010 / 12:29 pm

    Just a suggestion from a newbie: simply make it clear that undisputed ad hominem will be deleted. Plain and simple.

    • fundyreformed May 22, 2010 / 3:16 pm

      Thanks Bill for the feedback. Thanks also for jumping in around here, too. We’ll have to add your blog to the sidebar.

  16. Damien T Garofalo May 22, 2010 / 3:59 pm

    Erik makes good points, but I don’t think we should be too strict on that, being that this is a comments section in a blog and not a peer-reviewed journal. I do not want to discourage the less knowledgeable to come over and discuss.

    Personally, I prefer we delete comments are not appropriate and only ban when absolutely necessary.

    • JasonS May 22, 2010 / 4:17 pm

      Ditto.
      I often ask a person to give me a link to more info, or to cite a book that I can read. That would work better, I think. Just ask for proof.
      I also second the deletion. Some people go too far, but banning should be a last resort.

  17. Neil Hitchin June 21, 2010 / 7:38 pm

    “The Politics of English Bible Translation in Georgian Britain”, (Alexander Prize Essay) Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (1999), to be precise, if anyone plans to go looking for it. You could probably pick up a used copy online. (Interesting discussion, by the way – although I could have done without the ‘monstrous behemoth’ comment about the Church of England!) Probably important to remember that it was CofE bishops, professors, and other clergy, as well as dissenters, who wanted a new authorised translation, and that even in 1611, there was considerable disquiet about the Authorized version amongst the scholars. On the ‘Imperialism’ point, I think what I was driving at was that there were plenty of translations in 1800, but the (evangelical) Bible Society had a lot of money, and had to decide which translation to go with. It was obvious. The real issue, c1811, was whether to publish the AV bound with the Book of Common Prayer, or on its own. (An almighty row ensued – but curiously, the man who backed including the BCP was Herbert Marsh, by this time Bishop of Peterborough, who only a few years earlier (early 1790s) had been one of the first English bible scholars to translate German criticism into English – and his cousin was the Unitarian William Frend, whom the evangelical giant Isaac Milner – the very odd man, who would sit naked in his garden, and who ‘converted’ Wilberforce – was persecuting at Cambridge.) I think this is one reason Marsh left Cambridge for Gottingen when he did. With respect to the ‘illegality’, it was not illegal – it was a matter of copyright – people were not permitted to publish the KJV without permission for the simple reason that it was an income stream for the copyright holder, in this case the Crown. Property rights. Follow the money. (Surely Americans get this point!)

    I suppose what I am driving at is that the story is a great deal more complex than some might imagine – or wish.

    But keep discussing it.

    For the record, as a historian with some background in divinity, I think KJVO is an untenable position, for many good reasons. And a bit ingrown. Sorry about that. However, I do understand the concern. The nature of revelation, and unavoidably, epistemology, is a fascinating problem. Frankly, most historians of theology do not seem to understand the sophistication with which 18th century divines approached this. I am amazed when I read that they were ‘naive literalists’. They were not. Nor were they all deists and anti trinitarians (another image imposed on them by evangelical and tractarian propagandists in the next century). One final point – literalism, in the 18C, was more likely to be a mark of socinianism or unitarianism, than of trinitarianism. Oh dear. Hope there is some useful food for thought in all of this.

  18. John November 19, 2010 / 11:38 am

    Jesus Christ is the word of GOD, not the KJV. There can only be the practice of Idolitry, when we elevate the translation over the savior, by faith you have been saved through grace, not by works unless anyone may boast. We rely on the finished work of Jesus the Christ and the power of the ressurection.

  19. Test Rechtsschutzversicherung September 14, 2011 / 5:13 am

    Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

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