The founding fathers struggled to complete the Constitution. It was a very difficult undertaking. The United States itself also wrestled to arrive at the quality of this founding charter in a strenuous ratification process. The founders decided to make the constitution difficult to amend. An entire article, Article V, lays out the mechanism.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.The Constitution, of course, was written by men. It's not divine in nature. Nevertheless, the founders required monumental percentage of approval and accord to add, subtract, or revise. For that reason, the United States Constitution has been amended only seventeen times since 1791 and the ratification of the Bill of Rights.
A change in the Constitution resulted from tremendous momentum and astounding assent. The model for amendment was not a small cadre of scholars or noblesse taking matters into their own hands, deciding what is best for everyone. Sixty-seven percent must agree a change is even necessary and then seventy-five percent must agree on the change. This designed arrangement protected the nation from hasty innovation and experimentation. It demanded exacting deliberation, not some impulse of the moment.
Even with the scarcity of change in the United States Constitution over almost 230 years, I don't like some of the changes. I don't approve of them. As a young adult, I talked to a couple of older men who were still living when the women were given the right to vote in 1920. A very level-headed, intelligent and wise, godly pastor told me that the change in 1920 proceeded out of the instability following World War I. The men from the war were barely back and informed, when this was kicked through. You will find zero reference to a woman's vote in the federalist and anti-federalist papers.
Much bad law has arisen from the wording of the fourteenth amendment, "equal protection of the laws," often called the "equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment." On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States found a right of same-sex marriage in the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution. Many still see this decision as exceeding judicial authority. It shows, however, how that the wording of a change in 1868, even with a noble goal, brings ramifications in 2015, like some sort of time bomb.
Article V made the U.S. Constitution difficult to amend. The requirements protected the Constitution and the people of the United States. An authoritative document such as this was difficult to change, which is one characteristic of conservatism. If we are to conserve what we have, change should be arduous. The intricate system of constitutional change also reflects the foundational principle of the consent of the governed. The people are more likely to keep a law that they believe is the law. The people established the constitution. It sprung from the consent of the governed.
Does the Bible come by consent of the governed? The Bible is God's Word, whether people like it or not. However, God Himself used His people to canonize scripture, to agree what was in fact God's Word. The Constitution represented a view of natural law that people could consent to, guided by the law of God written in their hearts. The Holy Spirit guided the church to the truth. Our knowledge of sixty-six books comes from the consent of the governed, the Holy Spirit bearing witness in their hearts.
I contend that changes to the translation of scripture should come through a demanding, arduous, and exacting process among churches. Many translations have emerged from incentives of profitability and niche marketing. The Bible was the Bible, but as the separate books consolidated into One Book, this came by agreement of the churches. A small group of men may have been motivated by concerns regarding the adequacy of the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts or by the clarity and accuracy of communication in the English translation, but amendment of scripture should come with great pause and solemnity, marked by widespread agreement.
Churches did not launch the glut of translations into English. These arose almost exclusively from whatever concerns of a small group detached from church authority. They were less serious about changing the Bible than our founding fathers were about changing the United States Constitution.
I weary of the talk of a new English translation of the Bible in a generation attached to this culture. I don't trust it. I don't trust the people calling for it. I'd like to see some biblical conviction and obedience first. Let's be sure and certain. This is the drive-through-window era, the selfie throng, who are lining up for their next cell phone iteration before the last one is out of its box.
Before we amend, churches who care should agree on an amendment process. The King James Version itself unfolded from a painstaking carefulness. If churches thought they needed an update or revision, that should start with the churches that trust and use the King James Version. I'm not calling for it. I don't see any momentum to change. If or since the Holy Spirit is involved in the KJV churches, this lack of desire either results from a quenching of or an alignment with the Holy Spirit. Assuming the latter, the lack of agreement should read as tell-tale.
I'm saying let's take a cue from the founding fathers of the United States. This is no ordinary country in the history of the world. Today the people are messing it up. The King James Version came from an extraordinary providence as well. We should be thankful. We shouldn't want to mess it up either.