Consistent Inconsistency – Part 1

Some things have been taking place in my life and heart over the past few years and I would like to share some concerns. I believe these concerns directly affect the state of the body of Christ, particularly in the west like here in America.

There is a trend that seems to have developed to great proportions over the last century. In modern evangelicalism, the trend has grown to the point where fellowship between brethren is either non-existent, or teaching of issues and doctrine has become consistently inconsistent.

Let me explain based on the groups that I have seen or been involved with and share a few examples –

For a long time, I heard that the KJV Authorized Version 1611 was the ONLY version that was ever to be used. It is ignorance to hold to such a position when today we know that only a handful of people in the world can even read the 1611 version due to its style of English. But, it has not stopped the arguments which range from the ridiculous (if it was good enough for the apostle Paul, then it is good enough for me) to the well-meaning individuals who believe and practice that the Authorized Version is the “best translation” available in the English language. It is not really the latter that I am addressing here, but those who fall under the ridiculous 3/4ths of the spectrum.

Many in this group are militant and will refuse to even fellowship over coffee with another pastor across town if they learn he uses the NKJV, does his own translation work for his sermons, or <gasp> has denigrated the faith once delivered to the saints by using the ESV.

Or, another doctrinal issue that is prevalent, normally in the same group, is “Are you pre-trib and pre-millennial?” Again, the straw man arguments abound on positions both for and against, but they exist only to break down possible fellowship between people for whom Christ died.

Sadly, these same individuals have rows of books on their shelves from godly men of old that they hold in high esteem who used versions other than the KJV. They will even quote these men from the pulpit, recommend their books, and send their young people to a Bible college that uses books written by and about men who do not use the KJV and did not hold to a pre-trib rapture position. (Gasp – please say it is not so, but as an aside, this includes the great Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon!) Shhhh, don’t tell anybody this little tidbit or sales of The Pulpit Commentary will decline greatly.

However, the inconsistency lies in the fact that if these godly men were alive and called for a meeting – they would be rejected outright because “they don’t believe in the same Bible.“ Many pastors would refuse to have tea or coffee with these old saints because of their belief system.

Please do NOT misunderstand. I am not speaking about sharing pulpits with others who deny the foundations of the faith. I am speaking about refusing to speak or love others who do not hold the same position on areas that are not based solely on the Scriptures. There were 1600 years of church history before the KJV was offered to the English-speaking world.  There were also a number of godly men, like Spurgeon, who did not believe or hold to a position on the rapture of the Church. Yet, these two issues divide brothers and sisters from spreading the cause of Christ.

Let me use this example —

As a missionary, I called hundreds of pastors trying to schedule an appointment to share my ministry to a non-English speaking group of tribes in Liberia, West Africa. NOT once was I ever asked about my philosophy of ministry. NOT once was I asked what my stand was on teaching these tribes about the dangers of polygamy. NOT once was I asked how I planned on teaching the men to become elders and what material would I be using to ensure continued growth should we ever have to leave the mission field.

Yet, I was asked dozens of times, “We might be interested in you sharing your ministry, but WHAT Bible version do you use?”

NOT once was I asked how I would provide spiritually, mentally, and emotionally for my family while spending hours and hours with men who were almost illiterate. NOT once was I asked what we would do when we walked into a new village that had never heard the gospel even once.

BUT, I was asked, “Do you believe in the pre-trib rapture?” Strangely, I was rarely asked my position on the millennium. However, these same pastors never questioned the theology behind some of their favorite hymns. They have never once bothered to determine whether the hymns they are having the sheep in their flock sing each week are truly theological powerhouses, or if the hymns have faulty doctrine.

Do you see the inconsistency here?

The missionary and his family have been called to a mission field foreign to everything they know and love. Yet, the average missionary requires 3-4 years to raise the needed support to sustain them on the mission field.

This involves:

  1. The cost of calling hundreds of churches,
  2. Travel all across the USA
  3. Wear and tear on the body of each family member
  4. Maintaining a home as well as hotel costs or buying an RV like a travel trailer and vehicle to pull it. The expense of living full time in an RV is not cheap and greatly depreciates what they can sell the unit for at the end of the 3-4 years.
  5. Mailing out hundreds of presentation folders, prayer letters, prayer cards, thank you cards, etc.

Why does this happen?

The average missionary on deputation takes so long to raise funds because of the consistent inconsistency in the body of Christ. Instead of asking questions about things that are vital or important, they are being asked to take a stand on areas that have no bearing on the people they will be working with.

The issues of the KJV or the rapture are obviously not the only ones that are at stake. I have received dozens of “surveys” or “questionnaires.” These pastors and churches who are to be a guide and a shepherd to the sheep would spend great deals of time asking questions like: 1) whether my wife or girls wore pants, 2) what version I used even in my devotions, 3) whether we listened to a certain Christian music group or individual, 4) what hymnbook we used personally, or 5) whether we went to the pastor’s favorite Bible college.

Sadly, if the questions were not answered correctly or favorably, the missionary has to call more churches just so they can find “the right place” to talk about their love for the Lord and for an unreached people group.

Oh, and for all this hard work of finally gaining a meeting, the average missionary gains a love offering that rarely covers his expenses for a week and a possibility of support. The average missionary requires 4-6 churches visited to gain an average monthly support of $50-100 per supporting church.

Brothers and sisters, this is just wrong. Such inconsistencies bring many missionaries to conclude that they must not have been “called.” Many use up all of their savings accounts just trying to gain enough funds to support their family and their ministries while they are on the road. They are worn out and often not in a position spiritually, mentally, or emotionally to then go through the culture shock of entering a foreign land.

To conclude for now, I realize that many who claim to be called as missionaries are not qualified. They were not taught by their home church, or have no clue about what they are going to do when they arrive in their chosen land. There are many factors that affect a missionary going overseas, but again, this is just a concern that needs to be addressed.

There is nothing about inconsistencies that bring honor and glory to Christ. All it does is helps to perpetuate poor or shallow theology at best to lies at worst.

Just because a church or pastor is consistent in their inconsistencies in belief or practice does not make it right. Inconsistencies are harming the body of Christ and not just when it comes to dealing with missionaries. Over the next few blog posts, I will have other thoughts on consistent inconsistencies.

I look forward to hearing any thoughts you may have.



The Origins of the KJV

I’ve been told by some KJV-only advocates that one reason they believe the KJV to be THE KING-JAMES-ONLY-115396838242English Bible is that they claim it has been purified 7 times and the Bible prophesied it would be so! Here’s one web site that explains their position. And their summary is:

The seven English versions that make the English Bibles up to and including the Authorized Version fit the description in Psalm 12:6 of the words of the Lord being “purified seven times” are Tyndale’s, Matthew’s, Coverdale’s, the Great Bible (printed by Whitechurch), the Geneva Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, and the King James Bible.

The Wycliffe, Taverner, and Douay-Rheims Bibles, whatever merits any of them may have, are not part of the purified line God “authorized,” of which the King James Authorized Version is God’s last one — purified seven times.

They allude to but do not explain how they made these determinations, but conclude that the 1611 KJV is YHWH’s purified Word. I do find it curious that only English Bibles are included in their lineage of purified Bibles. What does the non-English speaking world do? As for the lineage of the KJV, there is no basis for argument. Here’s how HCSB: Navigating the Horizons in Bible Translations records it:

When in 1604 King James authorized a committee of scholars to publish a new Bible, he directed them to start with the Bishop’s Bible and retain what was already accurate and elegant and excellent, while consulting the original language sources to see if any modifications were necessary. In the introduction, Miles Smith states,

Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one . . . , but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark.

So the KJV, strictly speaking, is not a translation but a revision. In fact, it is a revision of a revision (Bishop’s Bible) of a revision (Great Bible) of a revision (Matthew’s Bible) of a revision (Coverdale’s Bible) of Tyndale’s translation. “A great deal of praise, therefore, that is given to it belongs to its predecessors. For the idiom and vocabulary, Tyndale deserves the greatest credit; for the melody and harmony, Coverdale; for scholarship and accuracy, the Geneva version.”

Yet the authorized version continued to undergo change. From the same book:

By the time the 1762 Cambridge and 1769 Oxford editions were printed, English spelling was standardized. There were nearly 24,000 changes from the 1611 editions.

Advocates of the KJV argue that the only changes were punctuation, spelling, and correction of printers’ errors. Even that would qualify as an “update.” However, also included in the 24,000 changes were around 1,500 significant changes.

Something I was unaware of is that many English Bibles relied on Latin rather than source language sources for most of the Old Testament:

in the chain of revisions from Tyndale’s Bible to the KJV, the last 34 books of the Old Testament were never translated from the Hebrew and Aramaic! Tyndale only translated the Pentateuch before he was martyred, and Coverdale translated the rest of the Old Testament from the Latin. Therefore, technically, even the RV, ASV, RSV, and ESV contain 34 books of the Old Testament that were originally translated from the Latin and then “carefully compared” to the Hebrew and Aramaic. (ibid)

With the recent availability of ancient manuscripts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls we have access to more and older manuscripts for nearly all of the Old and much of the New Testament. Part of the main goal of accuracy in translation deals with the target language; how can the idea given by God in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew be best translated into today’s English? Advances in translation techniques and software in the late 20th century had given translators the best tools yet to ensure English Bibles deliver the meaning of the inspired texts given to His prophets and apostles.

Those who think English forms of speech from 500 years ago and the faulty sources used by the KJV, it is difficult for me to comprehend why some Christians think the KJV is the best and/or only English Bible we should use. It is a good English Bible, but it is not inspired. Once more from Hcsb: navigating the horizons in bible translations:

The first words of Pr 26:23 were always taken as “silver dross,” and it was hard to understand the sense of the verse. Then starting in the late 1920’s thousands of clay tablets were unearthed at Ras Shamra. The language turned out to be Ugaritic, and the tablets greatly increased our knowledge of Near Eastern poetry, Canaanite mythology, and Semitic vocabulary. The Ugaritic word spsg was discovered, which means “glaze.” By dividing the Hebrew differently, the first line can be translated, “Like glaze on an earthen vessel,” which is an apt comparison to “flattering lips with an evil heart.”

As archaeology and linguistics improve our understanding of the language and culture of the ancient Near East, at some point it becomes incumbent upon the English-speaking church to produce a new translation of God’s Word.

May God grant us wisdom to truly seek the meaning of His message to His people, and avoid treating any translation as a religious relic to be revered.

As a postscript, because some people commenting are mistaken in believing the KJV to be supreme, here is a short article examining errors in the KJV. It’s a good translation, but it is the product of man.

“Not One Iote or One Title…”

“Not One Iote or One Title…”: A Plea for Original Spelling by John Bookman [Pseudo.]

[Attention–this is a SATIRE] KING-JAMES-ONLY-115396838242

by Doug Kutilek

Just days ago, I realized that we have not gone far enough in insisting that the Bible be preserved unchanged “in the form God intended for us to have.” Of course, I speak of the infallible, inerrant, verbally-inspired and unalterably preserved English Bible, the Authorized Version (AV 1611), “the Bible God uses and Satan hates.” Sure, there are lots of zealous defenders who have shielded it from the corruptions of such heinous translations as the NIV, the NASB and that most sinister NKJB, and have kept us from returning to the now-completely-unnecessary Hebrew and Greek. But while they kept their watch on one front, the Enemy has come in unawares by another route and sown seeds of corruption that have, I fear, already yielded a corrupt harvest.

What am I getting at? Simply this: we have insisted on the verbal inspiration of the English, that is, that the very English words were divinely chosen and given to the Learned Men. But simply insisting on the perfection of the English words and preserving the words is not enough. A careful consideration of the true intent and meaning of the words of Matthew 5:18 is necessary: “Till heauen and earth passe, one iote or one title, shall in no wise passe from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (I have made no mistake in my spelling, as I shall shortly explain). Notice how Jesus insisted on the verbal inspiration, not just of the words, but also of the very letters of the words of Scripture. And since this verse is a specific promise of the preservation of Scripture in our infallible English Bible, we must insist on following, not just the original KJV words but also their very spelling. What other meaning can we draw out of the words “one iote or one title”? Every letter–the very spelling–is certainly inspired, and to alter the spelling of a single word, to alter even a single letter in a single word, is to deny and reject the inspiration of the AV 1611. If God had wanted us to spell the words in the AV 1611 different in our Bibles, He would have given them to us in that form originally. Modern spelling is as hideous and hateful a thing as modern translations. Its new age corruption, pure and simple. No one was ever authorized to corrupt, to “modernize” the infallible original spelling. There are eight spelling corruptions in John 3:16 alone!!!

I’m sure some “liberal” soul will say, “What difference does spelling make?” Argue it out with Jesus, brother! Didn’t He say that inspiration of the words included the very spelling, every iote, not just the words? Will you reject the teaching of Matthew 5:18 of letter/spelling inspiration of our preserved AV 1611? To stop at “word inspiration” and not insist on spelling inspiration is to be second cousin to mere “thought inspiration.” It is creeping apostasy, through and through. Next someone will deny the inspiration of the chapter and verse numberings in the AV 1611. Where will it stop?

And I think we must recognize that Jesus’ infallible English word was “title” and not the now-corrupted “tittle.” A tittle is part of the ornamentation of a Hebrew letter (at least that’s what I’ve heard at Fellowship meetings, so I have assurance that it’s right). But a title is something else. I have complete confidence that this promise of Jesus was a specific reference to the preservation of the chapter and page headings, the titles found in the original AV 1611. Sadly, those infallible titles, attached by the Learned Men under divine inspiration at the top of each page and at the beginning of each chapter have been removed from our modern editions. Without them, we cannot claim that we have a perfectly preserved Bible, and by allowing them to be removed, we have called God a liar, and denied that He is able to preserve the inspired English Bible He has given us.

It is no secret that none of the commonly used English Bibles published in our day have the original AV 1611 spelling, or punctuation (that, too, is part of our directly inspired, infallible English Bible) or titles of which Jesus spoke, so in reality, these Bibles, even though they say “King James Version” or “Authorized Version” are really not Bibles at all. Only the Nelson reprint of the original 1611 AV is a real Bible; all the others are sinister corruptions.

And there is growing upon me the deep conviction, as deep as anything I’ve written in this article, that no English-speaking person can be saved if he was not saved by an original, unaltered AV 1611, with original spelling, original punctuation, and original chapter and page titles. This simply means that anyone who thought he was saved by reading a revised “KJV” or by hearing a sermon from such a “Bible” or by reading a Gospel tract that quoted the words in a revised spelling form, even if it was labelled “KJV” is not really saved, has never been saved, and never will be saved until he gets a true, fully-preserved AV 1611. That will mean that virtually all those who thought they were saved–preachers, deacons and all–will have to go back and get truly saved through a real AV 1611, then get rebaptized. Verbal inspiration of the English requires inspiration of the very spelling as well. Anything less is rank modernism.

I will confess to one further worry: original type style. The real AV 1611 was printed in what printers call “black letter,” a very ornate type style much like Gothic script, which is still used many times for the banner at the top of the front page of newspapers. This original type style was replaced with “Roman” type sometime in the 18th century. Note that name: Roman. I fear that once again, the Jesuits have conspired to corrupt the pure word in English. They have taken away the original Gothic (and as everyone knows, the Gothic Bible used the textus receptus for its foundation which proves with certainty that the Gothic was the correct script for a real Bible), and have substituted the corrupt Roman script. In a real sense, even the KJV has become a Roman Bible, since its modern editions use Roman script and not the original black letter. As further proof that Roman type is a corruption, notice that all these apostate Bibles–the ERV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NKJB, and the rest, have always been printed in Roman type. That’s proof enough to me that any Bible in Roman type is no Bible at all, and that only a Bible with the original script, the black letter, given to us in the form we should have it by the Learned Men, is a true Bible. Perhaps even those saved by the true original spelling KJV are not saved at all, and must locate a black letter edition. The Roman script Nelson reprint may not be enough (it’s just like those Bible corrupters at Thomas Nelson to pass off a Roman script KJV as though it were a real Bible!). Fortunately for me, my brother has a facsimile reprint in the original black letter of the AV 1611, and I’m secure since I’ve studied out of it several times.

It is a desperate situation. The shortage of black letter, original spelling AV 1611 Bibles is severe. There is truly a famine of the preserved word of God in the land. And all our efforts at preaching, teaching, Bible study, and soul winning are completely futile until we return to the real, unaltered, perfectly preserved bonafide AV 1611. Perhaps the best thing to do for the present is to send off and buy one of those pages from an original KJV, and if you can get a page that has a salvation verse, or part of the “Romans road,” perhaps there will be enough of the Gospel in the true preserved English to rescue your soul.

[As a service to the reader, so he can be saved through a real AV 1611, I will quote John 3:16; unfortunately, I have no capacity to reproduce the original black letter script, so even believing the unrevised spelling may not be enough, but we can hope for the best:

For God so loued ye world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

And just today, I came to understand that the only proper format for any Bible is in scroll form (or at least loose-leaf), since the Apostle assures us that “the word of God is not bound.” Therefore any book that is bound, regardless of its printed contents, cannot honestly be said to be the word of God. I’m sure the inspired 1611 translators never intended for their translation to come sown and within leather covers. Such would be a travesty, in light of the Apostle’s clear and plain teaching.

I’ve begun the systematic unstitching of all my sewn Bibles so that they can qualify, according to Paul’s definition, as the word of God. I urge you to do the same.

Debate: New Age Bible Versions – James White vs Gail Riplinger.

James white Gail Riplinger

In this audio debate James White takes on Gail Riplinger on the topic of King James Onlyism. This classic debate is under an hour long and I highly recommend it to those struggling with the opinion of whether or not any other English translation of the Bible can be trusted.

James White also exposes the errors in Riplinger’s book New Age Bible Versions in which she attempts to push the KJV as the only acceptable English translation of the Bible by using some shady means.

See also: Bible Translation Comparison Chart