WHAT ABOUT PETER RUCKMAN?
Updated December 5, 2007 (first published in O Timothy magazine, Vol. 11, Iss. 11, 1994) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Peter Ruckman, whose headquarters is in Pensacola, Florida, is the author of many books in defense of the King James Bible.
Following are some warnings about his ministry:
RUCKMAN BELIEVES THAT THE KJV IS ADVANCED REVELATION.
Consider some of his statements to this effect:
“The A.V. 1611 reading, here, is superior to any Greek text” (Peter Ruckman, The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Pensacola Bible Press, 1970, p. 118).
“Mistakes in the A.V. 1611 are advanced revelation!” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 126).
“A short handbook, such as this, will not permit an exhaustive account of the marvelous undesigned ‘coincidences’ which have slipped through the A.V. 1611 committees, unawares to them, and which give advanced light, and advanced revelation beyond the investigation of the greatest Bible students 300 year later” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 127).
“A little English will clear up the obscurities in any Greek text” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 147).
“If all you have is the ‘original Greek,’ you lose light” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 336).
“If you are able to obtain a copy [of Ruckman’s proposed new book] you will have, in your hands, a minimum of 200 advanced revelations that came from the inerrant English text, that were completely overlooked (or ignored) by every major Christian scholar since 90 A.D.” (Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Jan. 1994, pp. 2, 4).
“We shall deal with the English Text of the Protestant Reformation, and our references to Greek or Hebrew will only be made to enforce the authority of that text or to demonstrate the superiority of that text to Greek and Hebrew” (Peter Ruckman, Problem Texts, Preface, Pensacola Bible Institute Press, 1980, p. vii).
“Observe how accurately and beautifully the infallible English text straightens out Erasmus, Griesbach, Beza, Nestle, Aland, Metzger, Trench, Vincent, Davis, Wuest, Zodhiates, Elzevir, and Stephanus with the poise and grace of a swan as it smoothly and effectively breaks your arm with one flap of its wings. Beautiful, isn’t it? If the mood or tense isn’t right in any Greek text, the King James Bible will straighten it out in a hurry” (Ruckman, Problem Texts, pp. 348, 349).
“The original Hebrew had nothing to do with Genesis 1:1-3 at all [referring to Ruckman’s heresy that the flood of 2 Peter 3:5-6 speaks of a flood that took place in Genesis 1:2]. It only muddied the issue. Hebrew is of no help at all in understanding the passage” (Peter Ruckman, The Unknown Bible, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1984, p. 67).
“The King James test is the last and final statement that God has given to the world, and He has given it in the universal language of the 20th century ... The truth is that GOD SLAMMED THE DOOR OF REVELATION SHUT IN 389 BC AND SLAMMED IT SHUT AGAIN IN 1611” (Peter Ruckman, The Monarch of Books, Pensacola, 1973, p. 9). [Brother Cloud: In fact, God slammed the door of revelation shut in about 90 A.D. with the completion of the New Testament.]
If Ruckman is right, where was the inspired Word of God prior to 1611? What did the churches do from the time of the apostles until the 17th century? And what did they do before Ruckman came upon the scene to create this doctrine, because it is certain that no one taught it at an earlier date?
RUCKMAN BELIEVES THAT THE KJV WAS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION.
In The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship, pp. 271-272, Ruckman claims: “The King James Bible was ‘given by inspiration of God.’”
This is to confuse inspiration, which is a process whereby the Scriptures were given through holy men of old, with preservation, which is the process whereby God has kept the Scriptures since their original inspiration. 2 Timothy 3:16 refers to the original giving of the Scripture. The process of inspiration is further described in 2 Peter 1:20-21: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” These passages do not describe either the copying of Scripture texts or the making of translations.
It is the doctrine of preservation that guarantees that the God would watch over the inspired Scriptures to preserve them for future generations (Ps. 12:6-7; 100:5; Matt. 5:18; 24:35; etc.). This is the process whereby God preserved the Scripture in the Hebrew and Greek texts and in the accurately translated versions. The King James Bible is an accurate translation of the preserved Word of God and as such is the preserved Word of God in English. The King James Version is the inspired Word of God in English because it accurately translates the text that was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
RUCKMAN’S MULTIPLE DIVORCES
Dr. Peter Ruckman has been divorced two times and married three times yet he has been a pastor all along and he defends his unscriptural marital status in his book on divorce and remarriage.
His first marriage was before his salvation, and it ended in 1962 when his wife left him and filed for divorce. He began pastoring the Brent Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, soon after that. In 1972 Ruckman married the divorced wife of one of his former students. When a vote was taken in Brent Baptist as to whether they supported his second marriage, 200 voted for it and 100 opposed it. He resigned and started the Bible Baptist Church in Pensacola in 1974 with 17 people. In 1988 the second marriage ended when his second wife walked out and sued for divorce. Ruckman’s third marriage was to a member of his church, a mother of three.
Divorces do not take place in a vacuum. They take place in an environment filled with anger, carnality, hostility, bitterness, and sin. That is not judgmentalism; it is fact. Some of my godly divorced friends confess this as strongly as I do. In fact, consider how Ruckman himself describes his family life in days gone by: “I have had two wives desert me after fifteen years of marriage ... I have been in court custody cases, where seven children’s futures were held in the balance; in situations where Gospel articles were being torn out of typewriters, Biblical artwork torn off the easels, women trying to throw themselves out of cars at fifty m.p.h., mailing wedding rings back in the middle of revival services, cutting their wrists, threatening to leave if I did not give my church to their kinfolk; deacons threatening to burn down my house and beat me up; children in split custody between two domiciles two hundred miles apart, and knock-down, drag-out arguments in the home sometimes running as long as three days” (The Last Grenade, p. 339). That is what the man admits took place. That is only a small glimpse into the sin and confusion surrounding those years. Friends, you can label me a judge if you want, but a man with that type of family life has no business in the pastorate. Let him preach on the streets. Let him preach in the jails. Let him preach in the nursing homes. Let him preach in other ways, but we must obey the Bible and reserve the pastorate for men who have godly homes.
Ruckman mocks those who call for high standards for the pastorate and who don’t believe a divorced man fits God’s requirements for the office. He calls them hypocrites and Pharisees. Consider how he describes his third marriage: “... we got married in a regular Sunday night service after the offering was taken up: bridesmaids, wedding cake, rice, shaving cream on the car, the whole works. Standing room only. I WAS FLAUNTING MY FAITH IN THE FACE OF THE APOSTATE FUNDAMENTALISTS WHO WERE GOING TO ‘CASH IN’ ON MY MARRIAGE” (Peter Ruckman, The Full Cup, p. 280). On page 211 of his biography, Dr. Ruckman says that those who ask the question, “Do you think a divorced preacher is qualified for the ministry,” are “SELF-RIGHTEOUS PHARISEES.” This mocking, ungodly attitude has encouraged other men that it’s O.K. to be divorced and remain in the pastorate and even to flaunt the same before anyone who disagrees. Yes, sadly, many have followed Ruckman’s lead.
RUCKMAN TEACHES THAT MEN ARE SAVED IN DIFFERENT WAYS IN DIFFERENT AGES.
He believes men were saved by blood plus works in the Old Testament, by faith plus works in the Tribulation, and by works alone in the Millennium. In Millions Disappear: Fact or Fiction? Ruckman says: “If the Lord comes and you remain behind, then start working like a madman to get to heaven, because you’re going to have to. ... You must keep the Ten Commandments (all of them, Ecclesiastes 12:13), keep the Golden Rule (1 John 3:10), give your money to the poor, get baptized, take up your cross, hold out to the end of the Tribulation, wait for Jesus Christ to show up at the Battle of Armageddon, and be prepared to die for what you believe. In the Tribulation you cannot be saved by grace alone, like you could before the Rapture.”
Romans 4:1-8 plainly states that both Abraham before the law and David under the law were saved by faith without works. This is the only plan of salvation God ever has had and ever will have--salvation by grace alone through faith alone based upon the shed blood of Jesus Christ alone. The Old Testament saints did not know what the New Testament saint knows, but Romans 4 makes it plain that the Old Testament saints were saved by faith without works. Like Abraham, they believed God and it was counted unto them for righteousness.
Those who are saved in the Tribulation will also be saved through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ and through this alone. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14).
RUCKMAN’S WRITINGS ARE FILLED WITH STRANGE, FLESHLY, NAME-CALLING.
Some of the choice names Ruckman calls men who disagree with him are “jackass,” “poor, dumb, stupid red legs,” “silly asses,” “apostolic succession of bloated egotists,” “two-bit junkies,” “two-faced, tin-horned punks,” “incredible idiots,” “egotistical jack legs,” “conservative asses whose brains have gone to seed,” “cheap, two-bit punks,” and “stupid, little, Bible-rejecting apostates.” Dr. Ruckman can get pretty vulgar. He calls the New American Standard Version “more of the same old godless, depraved crap” (Satan’s Masterpiece--the New ASV, p. 67). In The Unknown Bible, p. 100, Ruckman says, “You see how people get all screwed up?”
Ruckman believes it is God who has called him to speak like this: “God called me to sit at this typewriter and pour forth VINEGAR, ACID, VITRIOL, AND CLEANING FLUID on the leading conservative and fundamental scholars of 1900 through 1990. ... God is in charge. He ... destines me to sit at this typewriter and LAMBASTE, SCALD AND RIDICULE these Bible rejecting fundamentalists who ‘believe the Bible is the Word of God,’ ... I hereby dedicate myself anew to the task of DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM AND NEGATIVE BLASTING against every adversary of that Holy Book...” (The Bible Believers Bulletin, Dec. 1985).
Ruckman’s spirit and language is not that of the Bible. Ruckman is fighting for a holy Book in an unholy manner, and it is confusion.
James 3:13-17 says: “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works WITH MEEKNESS OF WISDOM. But if ye have BITTER ENVYING AND STRIFE in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first PURE, then PEACEABLE, GENTLE, AND EASY TO BE INTREATED, FULL OF MERCY AND GOOD FRUITS, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” My friends, this passage from the King James Bible condemns Ruckmanism. This passage from the King James Bible tells me that Ruckman’s spirit is earthly, sensual, and devilish. Enjoying Ruckman because he “gets after those Bible perverters” is the same carnal spirit as enjoying a good dog fight when the dog you have betted on is the biggest, meanest one around. “Sic ‘em, Pete, sic ‘em!” It is entertaining, and it is satisfying to the flesh, but God says bitter envying and strife is earthly, sensual, devilish. God says heavenly wisdom is peaceable, gentle and full of mercy.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 says: “And the servant of the Lord MUST NOT STRIVE: BUT BE GENTLE UNTO ALL MEN, apt to teach, PATIENT, IN MEEKNESS instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
Didn’t the Lord Jesus and the apostles use some strong language? I know what Jesus called the Pharisees in Matthew 23. I have read how Paul, filled with the Spirit, spoke severely of the false teacher in Acts 13:9-10. I know the severe plainness with which the Spirit of God speaks of false teachers in passages such as 2 Peter 2 and Jude. But there is a world of difference between the language used in the Bible and the language used by Peter Ruckman. There is a world of difference between the spirit of a Peter and a Paul or a Jude and the spirit of Peter Ruckman.
There is also a distinct difference between the way the Spirit of God deals with a saved but erring man and the way He deals with an unregenerate corrupter of the gospel. There is a vast difference between the way the Lord Jesus Christ dealt with His own disciples and the way He dealt with the Pharisees. The same distinction is evident in the way that Paul dealt with Peter’s hypocrisy in Galatians 2 and the way he dealt with the unsaved false teacher in Acts 13. Yet Ruckman makes no difference between the Pope, a theological Christ-denying Modernist, or an erring fundamental Baptist brother in Christ. He lumps men such as John R. Rice and Stewart Custer together with John Paul II and Karl Barth and treats them in the same ridiculous manner.
RUCKMAN HOLDS MANY PECULIAR DOCTRINES AND HAS A PROUD, CULTIC ATTITUDE THAT HE ALONE HAS TRUTHS THAT NO ONE ELSE IN CHURCH HISTORY HAS KNOWN.
In bragging up his book The Salient Verses, Mr. Ruckman makes these comments: “If you are able to obtain a copy [of Ruckman’s proposed new book] you will have, in your hands, a minimum of 200 advanced revelations that came from the inerrant English text, that were completely overlooked (or ignored) by every major Christian scholar since 90 A.D. This would include all of the modern Bible revisers (1800-1999), all of the faculty members and staffs of every major ‘Fundamental’ (Conservative and Evangelical) seminary, university, and college in Europe and America since 1500, and every Greek and Hebrew scholar (or teacher) since 1611. ... Actually, if a Bible believer has this work he will have the accumulated knowledge of Cornelius Stam and Ethelbert Bullinger ... Clarence Larkin and C.I. Scofield, Ewing, Osborne, Tilton, and PTL ... Pember, Peters, Gaebelein, Pentecost, Lindsey, Kirban, Rockwood, Webber, and Van Impe ... plus the Puritans, Reformers, major evangelists (Moody, Sunday, Finney, Torrey, Wesley, etc.) and all that ANY Greek and Hebrew scholar ... ever found out--that was SO--in the last 200 years” (Peter Ruckman, Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Jan. 1994, pp. 2,4).
In The Unknown Bible, Ruckman claims to hold to 14 “biblical truths” which all other Bible teachers have overlooked. On page 347, Ruckman modestly claims: “Do you realize that in these last two chapters, you have learned a dozen things that were unknown to the greatest Bible teachers in the world? In 2000 years of church history, they haven’t even been able to find the passage which dealt with these things we have been talking about.”
Some of Ruckman’s long-overlooked “biblical truths” include the following:
(1) Angels are thirty-three year old males without wings; and all women in the Church Age will receive thirty-three year old male bodies at the Rapture.
(2) The plan of salvation for Tribulation saints is faith plus works and the plan of salvation in the Millennium is works alone.
(3) When the believer is born again, his soul is literally cut loose from the inside of his fleshly body. (Ruckman takes spiritual circumcision very literally!)
(4) Demons are winged creatures ranging in size from those of flies and mosquitoes to eagles and vultures.
(5) Sexual unions constitute marriage in God’s sight.
(6) The soul is an invisible bodily shape. “The problem is the word ‘soul,’ but since there isn’t one pre-millennial, soul-winning, fundamentalist who knows what a soul is (see the entire library of books published by Eerdmans, Baker, Zondervan, and the Sword of the Lord before 1970) ... The soul in the Bible is an invisible BODILY SHAPE. In the Old Testament, the soul is almost synonymous with the body, for it is STUCK TO IT till death” (Ruckman, Problem Texts, p. 145).
(7) The flood mentioned in 2 Peter 3 is not Noah’s flood but is one that supposedly occurred at the judgment of the earth, when Satan was cast out of Heaven. He admits that no other Bible teacher has held this view: “Now who could get a message so simple all muddled up? Answer: Every major fundamental Bible scholar and teacher in the United States, without one exception. If you were to ask Henry Morris what the verses refer to he’d say Noah’s flood: ditto Harry Rimmer, Clarence Larkin, J. Vernon McGee, Swindle (sic), MacArthur, Bob Jones III ... the Scofield Board of Editors” (Ruckman, The Unknown Bible, p. 67).
(8) “God has ordained on this earth 12 boundaries, with 12 nations, who are destined to leave this earth (transported by angels--Luke 16:22), and populate outer space infinitely and forever, beginning with the 12 constellations that are seen on the earth once every 12 months” (The Unknown Bible, p. 588).
(9) “In eternity, the Christian is in New Jerusalem; he is in his apartment house that is made out of transparent gold, like clear glass. ... He is called out on trips, and these trips take him to Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Uranus, etc. transporting couples into gardens placing them down and saying, ‘be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth’“ (Ibid., p. 592).
(10) “I know they [demons] have to be small. ... there’s two little animals that have wings. One’s a fly and the other’s a mosquito. Know what these things are? They’re pictures of demons. THE THINGS HAVE WINGS” (Ruckman, Demons and Christians, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1976, side 1).
Some Ruckmanites have challenged me to refute the Ruckman doctrines we have cited. I don’t have to refute them; they are self refuting for the simple fact that they have no biblical authority, just as Rome’s dogmas of purgatory and the ascension of Mary are self refuting. Why should we have to refute nonsense? The Bible instructs us to avoid the foolish and unlearned questions of heretics (2 Tim. 2:23; Titus 3:9-11), and Ruckman’s new doctrines certainly fall into this category.
In his 1996 book Black Is Beautiful, Ruckman claims that UFOs are real. Ruckman believes that some of the medieval plagues in Europe were caused by UFOs, that a B-52 bomber was downed by a UFO and that aliens disemboweled the crew members, and that a crew member of a US Navy ship was transported into the future. He believes the CIA has implanted brain transmitters in children, old people, blacks, and prisoners (p. 243) and operates underground alien breeding facilities (p. 256). He believes in Atlantis (p. 171) and the Bermuda Triangle, time warps (p. 160), creatures with one eye (p. 173), web footed aliens, blue aliens with blue blood (pp. 85, 86), black aliens with green blood (p. 244), and grey aliens with clear blood (pp. 310-11). He believes that Adam originally had water in his veins instead of blood (p. 185). He believes that the government is involved with UFO animal mutilations (p. 247). He believes that black helicopters carrying UN troops are “circling your homes” with the mission of attacking and imprisoning the populace (p. 233). He believes the U.S. federal government has kidnapped people and kept them alive in “amber liquid” (p. 230). He believes that the CIA flies around in space ships developed from technology gained when the government made a deal with aliens to allow them to kidnap children and use their organs as food and to experiment on U.S. citizens (pp. 291, 295-297).
While I have serious problems with Dr. Ruckman, I also have serious problems with many of his detractors. Many of Peter Ruckman’s most bitter enemies are trying to discredit the idea that there is an authoritative Bible anywhere in the world. They have their own rotten agenda, undermining men’s faith in the preservation of God’s Word (in any practical sense) and attempting to pollute their minds with the strange, unscriptural, convoluted theories of modern textual criticism.
“Who, then, can we trust?” some might be thinking? The Word of God says, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm ... Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jer. 17:5, 7).
Man is defiled even at his best. Our confidence must be in Jesus Christ and in His eternal Word, and let no man shake your confidence in that.