By August 31, 2009
A few minutes ago I was reading a Talking Points Memo article on the guy who took an AR-15 rifle to an Obama event earlier this month. Apparently Chris Broughton attends a fundamentalist Baptist church whose pastor Steven Anderson has prayed that Obama die and go to hell, sentiments that Broughton shares. While there are many interesting elements to this story, it’s this quote that I want to focus on, where Broughton described the church as an “old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, separated Baptist church.” Prior to reading this, I hadn’t heard the adjective “King James Bible only” to describe a church. Glancing at the Wikipedia article on the subject, it seems the phrase has been used since around the mid-1980s to describe a wide variety of groups that for one reason or another prefer the KJV. The wiki quotes James White to describe five such groups:
“I Like the KJV Best” – Though White lists this group as a division of the King James Only group, this division does not believe that the KJV is the only acceptable version. Individuals in this category simply prefer the KJV over other translations because their church uses it, because they have always used it, or because they like its style.
“The Textual Argument” – Individuals here believe the KJV’s Hebrew and Greek textual basis are the most accurate. These conclude that the KJV is based on better manuscripts. Many in this group may accept a modern version based on the same manuscripts as the KJV. White claims Zane C. Hodges is a good example of this group. The Trinitarian Bible Society would fit in this division; however, “the Trinitarian Bible Society does not believe the Authorised Version to be a perfect translation, only that it is the best available translation in the English language”, and “the Society believes this text is superior to the texts used by the United Bible Societies and other Bible publishers, which texts have as their basis a relatively few seriously defective manuscripts from the 4th century and which have been compiled using 20th century rationalistic principles of scholarship.”
“Received Text Only” – Here, the traditional Hebrew and Greek texts are believed to be supernaturally preserved. The KJV is believed to be a translation exemplar, but it is also believed that other translations based on these texts have the potential to be equally good. Donald Waite would fall into this category.
“The Inspired KJV Group” – Individuals in this group believe that the KJV itself was divinely inspired. They see the translation to be preserved by God and as accurate as the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts found in its underlying texts. Sometimes this group will even exclude other language versions based on the same manuscripts claiming the KJV to be the only Bible.
“The KJV As New Revelation” – This group of individuals would believe that the KJV is a “new revelation” or “advanced revelation” from God, and can and should be the standard from which all other translations originate. Adherents to this belief may also believe that the original-language Hebrew and Greek can be corrected by the KJV. This view is often called “Ruckmanism” after Peter Ruckman, a staunch advocate of this view.
I’d place most Mormons in the first group, but what do y’all think? I don’t recall Barlow discussing this in Mormons and the Bible, does anyone have it handy to check? Would some Mormons fit in any of the other categories?
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Categories of Periodization: Modern Mormonism
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