For years evangelicals and fundamentalists (of the non revivalist variety) have given the cold shoulder to supporters of the King James Version (KJS = King James Supporters). I designate King James Only men that way because of the pejorative nature of the KJVO identification. Most evangelicals and fundamentalists are not likely to listen to anything that a KJS will say in any theological or scriptural matter. If you remain KJS, you are discredited on salvation, sanctification, and almost any scriptural view you hold. I know that from experience. So I would think that I might hear a lot of testimony from other KJS, who have had a similar experience as I have. Feel free to let me know. You're not complaining; you're just reporting.
What is the "cold shoulder?" Don't look it up in the Bible. You won't find the practice there. They give no due process. It isn't biblical separation. It isn't loving. It doesn't have any particular goal in mind. It's almost sheerly political. They give KJS the "mean girl" routine either by ignoring them, talking only about them and not to them, or offering short, clipped answers as if from the start they're already fed up with your mere presence. You're left to figure out what it means. For any of them who are reading this, you might be thinking, "Hey, he got what was happening! That is what we do!" I really do not think that they know how to separate.
I can't know exactly why they operate in this fashion. They might say that they long ago swept aside the easy arguments of King James Onlyism, so now they just want to get a distance from this kooky group. To them, all KJVO are English preservationists or inspirationists who probably believe you can only be converted with a King James Bible. It also can be peer pressure. If they are caught talking to a KJS, they could lose some luster in their own group. They must treat all KJS as unreasonable and stupid, one sure way to receive kudos from your evangelical and fundamentalist crowd, or at least not to suffer the censor of the people with whom they so wish to be in favor. You can be an amazing favorite with these guys if you leave the KJS position and regularly mention that you once believed "like them (KJS)."
Things Have Changed
I have noticed that recently that the rhetoric against KJS has become more about separation. Many times the threat of separation comes from fundamentalists in commentary about conservative evangelicals. Here's how it works. Many fundamentalists think that certain conservative evangelicals are moving their direction, so the fundamentalists are talking about the kind of relationships they might be able to have with these evangelicals. A lot of the fundamentalists are already attending their conferences, fellowships, and other meetings.
Let me digress for a moment. When especially young fundamentalists blog, they generally show more love toward these evangelicals than they do fundamentalists. It has also become fashionable to quote these evangelicals, indicating that you are reading them. Most of them do write books, something that not many fundamentalists have accomplished. I see these new evangelicals as the new heroes to replace the old big names who have passed off the scene. Fundamentalism doesn't have any heroes of similar caliber or respect that they once did, so the attention is shifting to these conservative evangelicals as the replacement. This seems to be the death knell for this brand of fundamentalism.
I continue. The fundamentalists still say that separation is the issue that mainly gets in the way with fellowshiping with these evangelicals. They're also uncomfortable with some of the methods that many of these evangelicals use in their churches. The evangelicals answer the separation criticism by saying that the fundamentalists aren't consistent. If they will separate from the men to the left of them, themselves, then they should also be willing to separate from those in fundamentalism erring at the right of them. In other words, if fundamentalists are going to blast the evangelicals for being indifferent about Billy Graham, then they should also stop being indifferent with some of their wacky right-winged cousins.
I digress once again. Some of the young fundamentalists are fed up with the inconsistency on separation, so they are moving over to the evangelical brand of separation, which kind of looks like no separation. The big thing really is not having someone come speak for you or for you to speak to them. This is the big dream for this new evangelical, fundamental continuum. Presently it only exists in their drooling imaginations. Others are sorting through how to be consistent. Consistency all comes to a smithering halt when you see Sexton and Paisley on the platform with Jones and Ollila.
Enter the KJS. A great target to stop being indifferent would be the KJS. The evangelicals already just roll their eyes, shake their heads, and scoff at these silly wabbits. Condescending chuckles all around. Hefty back-slapping for maximum snarkiness. The fundamentalists have to sort of like be with them, since they're, ya know, all fundamentalists. Yuck. Ugh. The poster boys for stupid fundamentalism in their opinion are the KJS. So what to do? Prove your separation credentials by separating from the easiest target, the ones everyone loves to hate, the KJS. (The next easy target is Frank Garlock. He thinks rock music hinders plant growth. Ban him.) Some momentum is gaining on building a separation consensus with fundamentalists that goes beyond the cold shoulder that already exists.
The Radical Bibliology
I had already been hearing the calls for separation from these men with the radical bibliology, the KJS. Their bibliology is bad. It's an attack on um, um, inspiration. Inspiration is even a major doctrine. It's somehow stayed in that category despite love for Bruce Metzger. So they've got the perfect test case for consistent separation. They earn their separation chops by dividing from the KJS.
How is KJS against inspiration? Well, they, of course, all of them, believe that the King James is inspired. There we go, double inspiration. They use only the King James because it is the only Bible around that is inspired. All KJS believe this. Even if they don't, they do. Even if they don't, I'll treat them all exactly the same. No one will call me on it if I do. You don't have to. They are KJS. KJS doesn't have to be treated as well as someone like a Bart Ehrman, a person that actually contributes to sound, scriptural bibliology. Did you hear he's been on the NY Times bestseller list? There's scholarship for you.
And what exactly is the sound bibliology of the non-KJS men? Besides not being KJS, which is the best part of their bibliology, they believe that God inspired the original manuscripts. So do most KJS. And then God preserved His Word. They believe that. It's not taught anywhere in an explicit manner in scripture, but it is inferred in a few verses, and if those verses don't actually teach it, it is sort of a logical conclusion that you could make since you are sitting there with an English translation in your hand. And for them, that's the sound view. That's the view that is orthodox. That's the one that stays in fellowship.
I find the bibliology of these multiple version guys to be very confusing. Very jello-like. Amoebic. It's like listening to a major league baseball player explain steroid use. The story keeps changing. In the end, it doesn't matter if you've got Scripture promising preservation anyway is the thing. You can depend on comparisons of copies and mounds of textual evidence, stuff that is of much greater reliability than the preservation of, for instance, Tacitus. And no doctrines have been lost. That is part of the doctrine too. They're all in their somewhere. And we've got to be careful teaching this doctrine of preservation anyway. You see what happened to Bart Ehrman when he believed in preservation, don't you? So we've got to be careful being too presuppositional---it might not end well with that kind of approach. We need more bibliological ambiguity on the doctrinal side and then let the evidence lead us to the truth.
That whole last paragraph (with a little underlying humor from me) is very close to what I read the other side say, the non-KJS men. That is the foundation on which they stand in order to separate from the KJS. They have the orthodox bibliology. I would add that all the words are in the multiplicity of the manuscripts, but they don't really believe that. They believe that at least a few words still haven't been found, but you can all know that they're still searching, still collating, and still waiting.
Who Is Brainwashed?
So have these non-KJS, multiple version, critical text men read works of bibliology that have dealt with the subject of preservation? Have they read an in depth historical bibliology with thorough analysis of what bibliology Christians have held? Do we read any of this kind of research and study in the works they have published? I haven't seen it. Their books are full of restatements of Metzger and Aland, non-theological works.
Bart Ehrman, in Misquoting Jesus, had nine propositions that he developed in the course of the book. In his debate with Ehrman, James White could not challenge the assessment that he himself agreed with eight and a half of the propositions in Misquoting Jesus. The only thing they disagreed about was the interpretation of the evidence. And this is the kind of thing that is the source for non-KJS bibliology.
They love to reference the letter from the King James translators to the reader as a preface to the King James Translation. In that letter, the translators say that they expect that someone might be able to improve upon their translation in the future, giving men the permission to do so. They don't relate anything on the doctrine of preservation. They don't relate one point of bibliology in their introduction to their translation. They use that preface as an authority for correcting the King James Translation. And then the non-KJS say that they can't find anyone who believed in the preservation of an English translation. They can't find anyone before 1610 who believed in the preservation of the King James Translation. Sit back KJS. When they are done with such criticism of KJS, you have been slain. You are speechless. Only arrogance would now open his lips to attempt to answer such devastating bibliology.
These non-KJS men are ready to separate over bibliology, over inspiration of Scripture, from KJS men. They do so and they are either ignorant or ambivalent to the history of the doctrine of preservation. They have drunk the koolaid of textual criticism. They are content with believing that KJS started with a Seventh Day Adventist, David Otis Fuller, or maybe Donald Waite. They think that perhaps it began with Dean Burgon, who, they rush to add, wouldn't even be KJVO if he were alive today.
Let's go back a little bit further to the wealth of bibliology written in the 17th century, representing historic and pre-enlightenment sole scriptura. There you'll get historic bibliology. There you'll read what men of God have thought about this for centuries. There you'll get a pre-brainwashing bibliology that depends on the teaching of the Bible itself for the doctrine of its own preservation.