IS THE BIBLE VERSION ISSUE WORTH FIGHTING OVER?

Republished August 25, 2002 (First published January 19, 2001) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org) –

There are many people who will never believe this, but I don’t like doctrinal contentions. The Lord knows that sometimes I grow very weary in the battle, and I have to strengthen my arms for the task. If it were not for the fact that I am convinced God has called me to this ministry, I would have quit long ago, or at the very least I would have made my preaching at last a little more positive and would have stopped naming names! It is not pleasant to have to warn about men who are well liked, some of whom are leaders in your own church group. It is not pleasant to receive angry letters and e-mails every day of your life. It is not pleasant to be continually and willfully misunderstood and misjudged by those who do not like what you preach. Just recently a fundamentalist pastor told his congregation that “Cloud named his paper O Timothy because he has apostolic pretentions.” Oh, spare me! Even if that were true, how could he possibly know such a thing? Is that not the very type of judgment--judgment of motives, of the very secrets of the heart---that God expressly forbids us to make? Yet that is the type of judgment that is heaped upon me day upon day.

I love unity far more than division and peace far more than strife, but the fact remains that this is an evil and apostate hour and if ever there were a time in which men must stand up and be counted for the truth AND AGAINST error, it is today. Having a desire to please God in these matters, I will continue to lift up my voice against things I believe are hurtful for God’s people, and that means I will identify those who are leading the way in those hurtful things. Vague preaching saves the preacher from a lot of trouble, but it accomplishes very little.

Now I come more directly to my subject. Of all the battles I am facing these days, the most tiresome is to be labeled a divisive cultist because I stand for the old English Bible that was used to build the fundamental Baptist movement of which I am a part. Practically every church, school, and missions institution that exists among fundamental Baptists was built squarely upon the King James Bible. (There might be minor exceptions, but I don’t know of any.)

If the King James Bible was based upon a weak, preliminary, happenstance Greek text and was produced by men who did not possess good scholarship, as some would have us believe, it makes no sense to me why such a Bible continued to be used by almost all fundamental Baptists decade after decade after decade, instead of replacing it with a better one. I, for one, don’t believe it needs to be replaced, and I don’t believe there is anyone today who could produce a better one. I believe the crying need of the hour for English-speaking people is not a new version but a new zeal to study the excellent one God has given us. I have manifold tools at my disposal with which I can dig into the King James Bible and its underlying Greek and Hebrew text. That is far better than going to the modern versions with their Gnostic-tinged Greek New Testament and their dynamic equivalency methodology and their unsettled, constantly changing “authority.”

Some of our leaders and professors, though, are not only going after the modern versions, but are boldly promoting the same and are busy tearing down the KJV. And when other men who do not buy their theories refuse to sit idly by and allow this to happen and thus rush to the defense of the KJV, some have the gall to complain that it is the King James Bible defenders who are the dividers. Something is wrong with this picture.

I AM FED UP WITH THIS FALSE ACCUSATION, AND I CHALLENGE THOSE WHO ARE MAKING IT TO ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

Is the Bible not the foundation for everything we believe and do? Is the battle over the Bible, therefore, not FUNDAMENTAL and FOUNDATIONAL? Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us that every word of God is life. The Bible version debate affects dozens of entire verses and thousands of disputed words. Are we now going to take the ecumenical, New Evangelical position that “unity” is more important than truth?

How can it be right to contend for the faith and be wrong to contend for the words in which that faith was delivered? We have been commanded to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Is that faith not contained in divinely-given words?

Do I have the right to preach what I believe is the truth about the Bible and its texts and versions? If so, why are you trying to close my mouth on this subject by raising a loud hew and cry against “carnal division”?

Do I have the right to say another man is wrong on the Bible version issue and to defend my position against attacks and to warn God’s people about what I perceive to be errors and dangers in this issue?

If it is wrong for Pensacola Christian College, Heritage Baptist University, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Landmark Baptist College, Fairhaven Baptist College, the Dean Burgon Society, etc. to preach on this issue and to issue warnings, why is not also wrong for Bob Jones University, Northland, Clearwater, Detroit, the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, etc., to preach what they believe on the issue and to issue warnings? Why is one divisive and the other not? And if both are divisive, why not say it plainly and name the names of ALL of those who are doing the dividing? Those who are crowing so much about divisiveness seem to be awfully lopsided on this issue.

Why is it divisive to defend the King James Bible and its Greek and Hebrew text, while it is not divisive to tear it down with the theories of modern textual criticism and other methods of doubting its accuracy?

Why is it divisive for King James Bible defenders to stand for what they believe is the truth, while it is not divisive for Bob Jones, Northland, Clearwater, etc. to label King James Bible defenders as semi-cultists? (Yes, they have done that in their videos, magazines, and books, including the book From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man, all of which I have in my library.)

If the price for unity and peace is to let the preserved Bible be replaced with a corrupt one, that price is far too high. I refuse to pay it, and I pray earnestly to the God of the Bible, the God who has magnified His Word above all His name, that He will raise up a multitude to make the same refusal.

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2).