Sunday, June 23, 2019

King James Onlyism And Historical Revisionism

  • Discussion:
          -This article serves as a rebuttal to a post on a blog operated by Kent Brandenburg, where he defends his King James onlyism against claims of that translation being influenced by the Latin Vulgate. As is the typical fashion for doing article critiques on this blog, we begin this discourse with a quotation from the author:

          "Those who use a Latin Vulgate attack either are ignorant of the position of KJO or of history, or are just devious."

          The King James Version was for the most part based on the accessible Greek manuscripts at that point in time. However, those same manuscripts were late in history and incomplete in a few places. As a result, the Vulgate was consulted as a source to aid in translation. Some of the verse readings of Erasmus’ came from the Latin in places where he had no Greek text. Stephanus assumed the superiority of the Latin text in various places. Theodore Beza occasionally reconstructed texts using Latin readings. In fact, the reference to "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12 of the King James Version was derived from the Latin Vulgate itself. It simply cannot be denied that there is Latin influence in this English translation.

          Latin influence itself is not a negative thing in of itself. Latin manuscripts are not necessarily devoid of scholarly merit and value. Preservation of Scripture would be the preservation of a Latin translation for people who spoke and wrote in Latin. The Vulgate was translated from the Greek manuscripts available at the time.

          It is not as though the Apostle Paul had the King James Version (or even a specific manuscript family) in mind when he said that all Scripture was given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16). There are simply no passages which forbid us from having multiple translations of the Bible (though not having a primary translation for study purposes is unwise) or get specific as to how God's Word would be preserved. Following are some questions that are applicable to the vast majority within the King James Only Movement:

          How does dogmatically upholding traditions that are nowhere to be found in the Bible not testify against our belief in it being self-sufficient?

          If the King James Version contains the inspired, proper form of English, then how come King James only proponents do not speak it in their ordinary lives?

          If all modern Bible versions are satanic perversions, then how does one account for the numerous conversion testimonies to biblical Christianity through the usage of translations such as the New International Version?

          How could Kent Brandenburg's respective position be the "historical" one, when the scholars and theologians who composed the London Baptist Confession and Westminster Confession of Faith did not even know about the numerous manuscripts that we have discovered? How do we know that these men would have taken his same stance on matters relating to textual criticism?

          "The modern multiple-versionists represent a post-enlightenment thinking that begins with man's reason. It does not rely upon the beliefs of God's churches for centuries. Instead of depending on the Holy Spirit by faith, they reject what the churches received for the forensics of scientific theoriticians. They not only abandon an old and accepted Bible, but the testimony of the Holy Spirit through His churches...They reject historical bibliology for the uncertainty of textual scientists."

          These statements sound oh-so pious, but are not established in fact and even undermine the trustworthiness of Scripture. Yes, God has preserved His Word in the Textus Receptus and Byzantine manuscripts. However, we have no promises from Him to do so exclusively by that means. It is a fact that no two manuscripts are identical in every jot. The nature of textual differences is not harmful to any article of the Christian faith. Admitting to the existence of textual variants does not amount to a denial of biblical inspiration and inerrancy. His Word has not been lost, but preserved through a large quantity of manuscripts.

          If we cannot trust the earliest extant manuscripts available, then we have no objective reason to trust the later Byzantine manuscripts or Textus Receptus. King James onlyism in all its forms is inherently destructive to the trustworthiness of the Bible. It is ironic how both King James Version only advocates and atheists argue that manuscripts cannot be of God because they contain variants.

          Erasmus, himself a Roman Catholic, used his reason to determine which manuscript renderings were most reliable as he completed his work. The King James translators no doubt did the same thing. Whenever a person says that manuscript X or manuscript Y is better or poorer than another manuscript, he or she has to examine texts in a way that is critical. Therefore, Kent Brandenburg has raised (without any sense of guilt or hypocrisy) a double-standard.

          What the King James only position essentially boils down to is the adamant clinging to an extra-biblical tradition. It is a variation of the great apostasy tale, which can also be found in Mormonism. The issue is not so much a disputation on textual criticism, as many within this movement disdainfully condemn other translations for merely using up to date language. Language by its very nature is prone to evolve. It is much better to depend on a wealth of manuscript evidence than with some groundless "Ecclesiastical Text" theory. The post critiqued is a textbook example of historical revisionism.


  1. Well done, Jesse!

    Another facet is the FACT the the KJV Only movement was started by a Seventh-day Adventist, i.e., a member of a heretical cult!

  2. Kent BrandenburgJune 25, 2019 at 2:03 PM

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  3. Well, the early "KJVO's" weren't really KJVO, rather they held it up as superior to all previous translations and that was a different battle. The new battle came from the SDA, as part of the fight against the Wescott & Hort text. There really weren't "new" texts to fight until W/H and the translations based on it.

    KJVO really isn't about the KJV per se, rather it is about the Received Text supposedly being superior to other texts. BUT when other translations use the same texts, except with corrections in translation, they are vilified as "corrupting" the TR.

    Idolatry, pure idolatry.

  4. Kent BrandenburgJuly 2, 2019 at 1:47 PM

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