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Those who want to take a neutral position on the issue of Bible texts and versions often claim that the current defense of the King James Bible and its underlying Greek Received Text is an unnecessarily divisive, near-cultic position that has no historical precedent among Fundamentalists and other strong Bible believers. This is historic revisionism of the worst sort. The fact is that only recently have professing Fundamentalists begun using and defending the modern versions. Though some Fundamentalist leaders of bygone days might have had their “fingers crossed” when they spoke of the King James Bible as the preserved Word of God in English, multitudes of others believed it was exactly that and believed it without equivocation. As for the underlying Greek text, there have been many strong Bible believers among English speaking churches of the last two centuries who have defended the Received Text as the preserved Word of God and who have condemned modern textual criticism as heresy. This is not a new and obscure position that was devised only a few decades ago by a Seventh-day Adventist or by Peter Ruckman, as some would have us believe!
In a newly-published book FROM THE MIND OF GOD TO THE MIND OF MAN: A LAYMAN’S GUIDE TO HOW WE GOT OUR BIBLE (1999, Ambassador-Emerald Press, Greenville, South Carolina), we find the latest example of the aforementioned revision of history. This book is edited by James B. Williams. Contributors and other men associated with the book include John Ashbrook of the Ohio Bible Fellowship; Keith Gephart of International Baptist College; William Smallman of Baptist Mid-Missions; Ernest Pickering of Baptist World Mission; Larry Oats of Maranatha Baptist Bible College; James Price of Temple Baptist Seminary; Douglas McLachlan of Central Baptist Theological Seminary; Sam Horn of Northland Baptist Bible College; and David Beale of Bob Jones University. This book was promoted at the recent World Congress of Fundamentalists at Bob Jones University. An autographed copy was presented to Bob Jones III at an evening session, and he made a passionate speech about it. Within a matter of hours, their stock of the book was sold out and more copies were delivered the next day.
In the Introduction to this book, Dr. J.B. Williams calls the defense of the KJV a “cancerous sore” that has resulted in “a deplorable condition in Fundamentalism.” He describes the defense of the KJV a “mass of misinformation.” Dr. Williams then traces the history of what he calls “King James Onlyism” back largely to Seventh-day Adventist Benjamin Wilkinson and to Dr. Peter Ruckman, editor of the Bible Believer’s Bulletin. He then lists “others who have joined in this parade of misinformers, including D.A. Waite, E.L. Bynum, Jack Chick, and Walter Beebe” (page 7). He says: “The list increases with time as more unqualified proponents of the KJV Only view join in the confusion.”
Those are not mild words, my friends. These men say they are concerned about the “mean-spiritedness” and divisiveness of those who defend the KJV, but FROM THE MIND OF GOD TO THE MIND OF MAN sounds very mean-spirited and divisive to me.
Furthermore, having studied this topic diligently for almost 20 years, having spent many thousands of dollars to purchase related books, having developed one of the most extensive bibliographies on the subject, having gone to great expense to travel to serious research facilities such as the Regent College Library and the British Library, having corresponded with hundreds of men, and having written an extensive history of the defense of the Received Text and the King James Bible, I am convinced that Dr. Williams presents a slanderous caricature of the truth. Dr. Williams ignores the fact that many King James Bible defenders have scholarly credentials equal to that of the contributors to From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man. The defense of the Received Text and the KJV did not originate with a Seventh-day Adventist, but with godly men in Britain in the 1800s who defended the Greek text underlying the KJV against the new theories of textual criticism, which they considered to be unbelieving and heretical. I have documented this extensively in my 500-page hardcover book For Love of the Bible: The History of the Defense of the KJV and the Received Text from 1800 to Present - available from Way of Life Literature, www.wayoflife.org.
This series of articles is an attempt to help set the record straight. The following is another example of the men and organizations that have defended the Received Text and the King James Bible during the past 150 years:
Dr. Don Jasmin (1936- ) is an Evangelist and a respected Bible conference preacher. He heads up the Fundamental Ministries and is the Editor of the bi-monthly Fundamentalist Digest. His ministry is based in the Maranatha Baptist Church of Elkton, Maryland, under Pastor Allen Dickerson. In his 38 years of public ministry, Brother Jasmin has pastored churches for 27 years and has labored in evangelism for 22. The burden of this preacher’s ministry is the Old Paths and the Old Book. In the Fundamentalist Digest for January/February 1995, Dr. Jasmin testified: “In 34 years of public ministry, both in the pastorate and full-time itinerant labors, he has maintained an implicit confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the KJV text, NEVER wavering from that stance. He is NOT going to change that stance now simply to avoid the erroneous label and libel as a ‘Ruckmanite,’ whose heretical teachings he has vigorously exposed from their inception!”
The following is from a letter to us dated May 23, 1995:
During my teen years, I was greatly and positively influenced by my local church youth group as well as by the Youth for Christ movement, with which my home church was associated through the Detroit Voice of Christian Youth (VCY), the area YFC rally.
I attended the Detroit Bible Institute for one semester, receiving excellent Bible training there, and then transferred to Bob Jones University due to its strong evangelistic emphasis and its reputation as a spiritual ‘hotbed’ for training aggressive soul-winning preachers.
At BJU, I received an A.B. with major in Bible and the B.D. (equivalent to today’s Master of Divinity) from their graduate theological division. ... [I received] an honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) from the now defunct San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary. This seminary also placed my name in the ‘Fundamentalist Hall of Fame.’ My alma mater, Bob Jones University, honored me in 1979 with its ‘Defense of the Scriptures’ award, an award from the Bob Jones family, in honor of the BJU founder, Dr. Bob Jones Sr., and later granted me an honorary Doctor of Literature (L.L.D.) degree....
Regarding the KJV: Since childhood, I have maintained an implicit faith in the integrity and accuracy of the A.V., having been taught confidence in its contents by my parents, pastor and home church.
In the churches I pastored, the KJV was used exclusively in the pulpit, classroom and activities, this position being clearly delineated both in preaching and printed stated practice. A KJV only clause was inserted into revised church constitutions where I pastored.
A letter written to Dr. David Otis Fuller (published in the Jan.-Feb. 1995 Fundamentalist Digest) confirms this longstanding position. However, I never was involved in the textual background controversy until about five years ago, always stating that I left this ‘issue’ to scholars to debate, simply defending and proclaiming the veracity of the KJV.
My initial concerns about the background text were aroused about 15 years ago, when I picked up the Nestle’s text that I had used in Greek classes at my alma mater and read the English introduction. To put it mildly, I was shocked by the destructive comments made by this noted Greek scholar concerning the textual basis of the KJV. It was then I began to take special note concerning the background texts underlying the various translations.
Since that time, my confidence (which has always been strong) in the A.V. has been immeasurably strengthened as I have pondered the fallacies of the Westcott-Hort text versus the time-tested reliability of the traditional ‘Majority’ manuscripts.
After further consideration, about five years ago, as I witnessed the deluge of unreliable modern translations being published, and saw the deteriorating confidence in and disuse of the KJV among former defenders (a trend that appears to have developed into almost an open antipathy) I decided it was time to openly defend and promote the textual background basis of the A.V.
One of the purposes in beginning The Fundamentalist Digest was to help foster confidence in the KJV and its historical origins, as well as expose the pro-ecumenical, pro-apostate basis of the modern translations based upon the Westcott-Hort text.
It is my firm conviction, that the KJV, based upon what has become known as the ‘Received Text’ is the ONLY Bible that retains ALL the fundamental doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ, without any deletion, being a faithful translation of the text upon which it is based. This fidelity is due to a trustworthy text as its source, and the superior translation work of the orthodox scholars who produced this version.
While I am an ardent defender of the Received Text and the Authorized Version (A.V.), my ministry is not devoted exclusively to this theme: my main ministry being one of preaching in Bible conferences and evangelistic endeavors. Through the printed page, I seek to defend ‘the faith once delivered unto the saints,’ providing instruction and inspiration as well.
The March-April 1994 and January-February 1995 issues of The Fundamentalist Digest were devoted almost exclusively to the defense and promotion of the KJV.
As we approach the end of the 20th century and the potential advent of another millennium, I do not believe if the Lord tarries, that any of the organized professing fundamentalist fellowships of this generation (FBF, IBFNA, BBF, WBF, etc.) will hold the line on the important issues of the Bible texts or Biblical separation, believing they have already, in essence, capitulated to the pressures of the age.
The position of openness or silence in the above matters will turn, as it already now is, to antipathy and antagonism towards defenders of these vital two twin and corollary truths.
I further believe that Satan, counterfeiting every possible phase of God’s work he possibly can, will produce his counterfeit ecumenical Bible. It appears entirely possible that the NIV or a successor to it, founded upon it, may accomplish that objective. A false Christ will lead humanity into a false faith, based upon a false text acceptable to all, but with a distinctly evangelical face, in order to deceive the last holdout against the ‘New World Order’—the professing conservative ‘evangelical’ or fundamentalist Christian.
It appears entirely possible, from this viewer’s perspective, that the majority of professing fundamentalism may incorporate many of the characteristics of the apostasy into its practical operations by the turn of the century, while still claiming allegiance to fundamentalism.
I do NOT believe that a stand only on the KJV and its underlying text is sufficient to ward off this encroaching apostasy. I believe, to maintain a pure faith, free from all taint of apostasy, we must ADHERE TO THE PRACTICAL DAILY AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD, particularly in the area of conventional standards and music, as well as ACCEPTING ITS PRESERVED AUTHENTICITY.
It appears there are many professing fundamentalists who will ‘wave’ adherence to their KJV, but NOT accept its authoritative standards in DAILY living: marriage, family living, standards, music, etc. Some churches promoting the ‘KJV ONLY,’ in the writer’s opinion, are as close to the apostasy as others who openly deny its veracity, a sad, deplorable but factual reality. THE WRITER OF THESE WORDS DESIRES TO STAND BOTH FOR ITS PRINTED AUTHENTICITY AND ITS PRACTICAL AUTHORITY UNTIL OUR LORD RETURNS OR HIS EARTHLY PILGRIMAGE IS COMPLETED (emphasis in the original) (Don Jasmin, Letter, May 23, 1995).
That Dr. Jasmin’s position on the King James Bible is longstanding is evident from a letter he wrote to D.O. Fuller in March 13, 1973. This letter was printed in the January-February 1995 issue of Dr. Jasmin’s paper. The caps are exactly as in the original letter:
“Dear Dr. Fuller:
“I have a copy of your book and have loaned it to friends. It has helped to strengthen their faith in the Inspired Word in the midst of the many ‘perverted’ translations that are floating about these days.
“Praise God that you are not afraid to speak on this matter; if only we had 1,000 more voices like yours on this issue. IT’S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE STOOD UP FOR THE BIBLE AND THE BEST TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE AVAILABLE TODAY—THE KJV.
“These ‘mod,’ ‘loose’ translations are not only PERVERTING, CHANGING, DELETING AND ADDING TO GOD’S WORD, BUT ARE MAKING LAZY CHRISTIANS! My sympathy lies with youth who are being sold a ‘false bill of goods’ on these paraphrases. Are these the Bibles that our future GARBC youth will use as deacons and pastors? GOD HELP US!”
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