Reviewing Which Bible Would Jesus Use? [6]

Editors Note: Beginning with this post I am announcing a change in strategy with my reviews. As I read ahead in the book, the chapters only continue to become a tedious hodge-podge of out of context citations from evangelical leaders that are accused of compromise with their views of Scripture. Examples of what I mean will be highlighted below. Furthermore, McElroy seems to be completely unaware (a self-inflicted myopia?) of the numerous rebuttals and other responses to his arguments he puts forth. His argumentation is increasingly becoming repetitive to where I am essentially covering the same point I had already covered in previous posts. What I plan to do from this point onward is rather than going chapter by chapter as I initially claimed I would, is to hit sections of the book that may be helpful with a response.

kjvonlyismChapter 5

Why the Lord can’t choose the King James Bible without looking foolish to scholars

Summary

McElroy starts this chapter by listing a series of quotes from conservative, Bible-believing, evangelical pastors, teachers, and seminary profs.  While on the one hand, they claim they love and appreciate the King James, in their heart of hearts, they really think it is a joke of a translation and would never truly recommend it to anyone.

After he outlines his quotations, he concludes,

Now these fellows aren’t against the King James Bible. They’re just not completely for it. The all recommend you use it in conjunction with the rest. They are politically correct. [91]

After a few more citations from other alleged orthodox men, McElroy lists out 16 verses that are omitted from the various modern translations. Such verses as Matthew 23:14, Luke 17:36, Acts 28:29, and Romans 16:24. He then takes a rabbit trail and explains how all the Roman Catholic editions also omit that same list of verses from their versions.

Returning to discussing the omission of those verses, McElroy explains that to remove them or to claim they are not originally a part of the Bible is essentially to call God a liar. Moreover, that conclusion ignores the fact that men would try to pervert, corrupt, and wrest from context God’s words. If then what the modern Bible proponents say is true, then we either have to dump the KJV or blame Jesus, because He is ultimately responsible for the failure to keep His own word.

Review

Using the Gail Riplinger ellipses technique of cherry-picked, out-context citations, McElroy makes the individuals he quotes sound as though they are some of the most dishonest con-men in the world.

But he has essentially built another strawman for his detractors to topple over.

Let me show you what I mean.

I will write out the original paragraph where McElroy gets his citation and I will place his citation found in the book in bold blue so you can see the contrast.

He begins by citing from geo-centrist and KJVO apologist, Thomas Strouse, who expresses his disfavor with Dr. James B. Williams, the general editor of a splendid, must read book, From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man.  McElroy doesn’t give any indication he read the actual book, but he does cite Strouse’s complaint that it is unfairly critical of Williams to call KJVO proponents “misinformers” and their position a “cancerous sore.” Seeing that I have interacted with KJVO apologists for way over a decade now, I think the descriptions are appropriate; but let’s consider the context of Williams’s words.

After writing about Peter Ruckman, especially his abusive arrogance, and noting how his “writings are filled with misstatements about manuscripts and texts and with attacks upon some godly Bible scholars who do not hold his view point,” Williams goes on to write,

There are others who have joined in this parade of misinformers, including D.A. Waite, E.L. Bynum, Jack Chick, and Walter Beebe. The list increases with time as more unqualified proponents of the KJV Only view join in the confusion. In general these are devout, sincere, well-meaning men who in their efforts to uphold the testimony of an inspired, inerrant, infallible Bible have followed others who have been misguided in their positions. … The healing of this cancerous sore appears impossible. Nevertheless, informed Bible believers have an obligation to point out error and present the truthful facts as they apply in this issue. [Mind, 7].

As can be seen, there is certainly much more to Williams’s comment than just the name calling of KJVO advocates. He even charitably calls them devout, sincere, and well-meaning. I should also point out that the descriptions of “misinformers” and “cancerous sore,” are separated by nearly a page of text.

Moving along to another quote, McElroy also selectively cites from the introduction of James White’s book, The KJV Only Controversy,

The Christian who wishes to “give the reason for the hope” that is within him (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) will be quite alarmed at the logical conclusions derived from the KJV Only perspective. The body of this work will demonstrate that KJV Onlyism is forced to make statements about the Bible that undercut the foundation of the faith itself. [White, 17].

McElroy quotes James as writing, “undercutting the very foundation of the faith itself.” I suppose it’s close enough, but James provides a good reason why he states what he states.

He also cites from an article from a series about KJV Onlyism and hyper-Fudamentalism by Central Seminary professor, Kevin Bauder.

Here is the fuller context of what Bauder wrote,

Of course, the King James Only movement is only one species of hyper-fundamentalism. Hyper-fundamentalism may revolve around personal and institutional loyalties, idiosyncratic agendas, absurd ethical standards, or the elevation of incidental doctrines and practices. The thing that characterizes all versions of hyper-fundamentalism is the insistence upon draconian reactions for relatively pedestrian—or even imaginary—offenses.

Hyper-fundamentalism and the new evangelicalism are mirror images of each other. The old neoevangelicalism damaged the gospel, not by denying it, but by attacking its role as a demarcator between Christianity and apostasy. The hyper-fundamentalist does the same kind of damage by adding something else alongside the gospel. If anything, King James Onlyism is worse, for it shows contempt for the Word of God. It attacks the heart of Christianity by sitting in judgment over its source of authority.

Considering what Bauder is stating, I am inclined to agree with him at all points.

Then there is a quotation from a blog article by William Combs of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary who wrote an article showing how the preface of the original AV 1611 refutes the modern day claims made by KJVO apologists. He writes,

Some try to get around the statements in the Preface by asserting that they themselves are not arguing for the infallibility of the translators, but the product of their work—the KJV itself. They seek to draw a parallel between the translators and the authors of Scripture, arguing that just as the authors of Scripture were flawed men, yet produced an infallible product, so the translators of the KJV. But this will not do. The only way the KJV, or any edition of it, could be infallible and inerrant is if the persons who produced it were under the same superintending ministry of the Holy Spirit as the authors of Scripture. And anyone who makes such an assertion is not just wrong but spouting heresy.

With his black magic marker use of ellipses note what McElroy left out of Combs’s comment. Combs wasn’t stating that he believes KJV onlyists are spouting heresy for only liking the KJV, but his words are aimed at those KJVO apologists who insist that the translators were under the same inspiration of the Holy Spirit as the original writers of Scripture. If you believe that about the translators, and McElroy has made a number of suspicious comments in his book that suggests the he does, a person is not just wrong about Bible translations, but has fallen headlong into heresy. That sounds rather reasonable to me.

standsAnd then one last one.

Turning to English Bible and Tyndale scholar at University College London, Dr. David Daniell, McElroy quotes this from his book, The Bible in English, “From 1769, effectively, there grew the notion that the KJV was peculiarly, divinely, inspired.” He then goes on to make this comment, “That’s quite a loft view of Scripture in English, but this would be among the common people. … Certainly, the intelligentsia would never have shared that opinion. [92].

The idea he wants to get across to his readers is that Daniell is claiming that in the 1700s, it was common that the normal, church-going folks who loved the Bible believed the KJV was divinely inspired. But that is not at all what Daniell wrote. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Rather, Daniell was describing what he calls “Avolatry,” or the folks who believed the translators and their work were divinely inspired. Take a look at a fuller citation from where McElroy took his quote,

By the end of the 1760s, another view was appearing, one that itself became a myth, supported by carefully manufactured other myths. This was the birth of “Avolatry,” the elevation of KJV to such heights of inspiration as to be virtually divine and untouchable. From 1769, effectively there grew the notion that KJV was peculiarly, divinely, inspired. To bolster the supposition it was announced that this translation had been especially venerated from the moment in 1611 that it appeared.

In 1762, however, a serious attempt had been made in Cambridge to correct the text of KJV by widespread revision: spelling and punctuation were changed, the use of italics was regularised and extended, printers’ errors were removed and marginal annotations were increased and greatly enlarged. It was in this much-altered form that the 1611 KJV went forward, but not before the work of Dr. F.S. Paris … had been itself revised by Dr. Benjamin Blayney …. with other corrections and increased marginalia, and repeating most of Dr. Paris’s errors. Thus the birth of “Avolatry,” in which King James’s scholars became almost sanctified in their work, and their Bible near divine, coincided with a general acceptance of two modern versions of that very work which were most strikingly changed from the original. [Daniells, 619-620]

Changes everything, right?

Honestly, it is that kind of sloppy, ham-fisted mishandling of source material that makes this book a chore to review. I am truly stunned that it was allowed to go into print; but I am assuming there wasn’t an editor who would have caught such problems and alerted the author to them. It gives me the impression that McElroy doesn’t seem to care if he is representing his opponents accurately. It’s bad enough that he doesn’t genuinely engage their arguments, but it is really bad that he makes them say something entirely different.

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6 thoughts on “Reviewing Which Bible Would Jesus Use? [6]

  1. Fivepointer- You have to admit that cartoon of those two guys is a great way of some it all up. You are totally the guy on the right.
    So Christians believed the AV was inspired in 1769?

  2. No. They did not. They believed the translators shared the same inspiration that the original prophets and apostles did. That would be heresy.

    Any comment about how McElroy misrepresents the people he cites?

  3. Yes they did. What is D. Danielle’s source?

    McElroy is not guilty of misleading. His points are well taken.

    Why not comment on his quote from P. Schaff?

    Also when are you ever going to admit that you were wrong about the Geneva Bible being the only Bible on the Mayflower?

  4. Pingback: Answering the Claims of KJV-Onlyism | hipandthigh

  5. Pingback: Reviewing Which Bible Would Jesus Use? [7] | hipandthigh

  6. Pingback: Reviewing Jack McElroy’s Which Bible Would Jesus Use? | hipandthigh

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