Monday, March 26, 2012

The Lie about the History of One Bible Onlyism

Several weeks ago I was listening to an audio interview (2/20/12) of Kevin Bauder by Scott Oakland, who produces his own online show, called Reformed Cast.  Oakland was asking Bauder about his contribution to the book, The Spectrum of Evangelicalism.  At only the 12:30 mark of the interview, Oakland asks Bauder to comment on how King James Onlyism (KJVO) worked its way into the movement of fundamentalism.  He had segued to that part of the conversation from a discussion of inerrancy.  Bauder said that inerrancy was important to the gospel, because it relates to trust in God---if someone can't trust the Bible, which is God's Word, because there are errors in it, then he can't trust God.  From there, Oakland went to KJVO, which to me is interesting.  Perhaps it was subconscious with Oakland, because KJVO does relate to the doctrine of inerrancy.  God said He would preserve every Word.  Can we trust that God did what He said He would do?

Kevin Bauder says that the KJVO position (at about the 13:20 mark) "actually started out in Seventh Day Adventism."   That is a lie.  I'm guessing Bauder would defend himself by saying that the modern day KJVO movement started with a Seventh Day Adventism book by Benjamin Wilkinson in 1930.  This is straight from the James White playbook.  However, it is a lie.  Then he says that David Otis Fuller, a fundamentalist pastor from Grand Rapids, MI, took those ideas from Seventh Day Adventism and began to propagate them in fundamentalism.  That's all I'm going to report of what Bauder said, but it is something that needs to be put on the shelf once and for all.  Either Bauder is so ill-informed as to be ignorant, which is hard to believe, or it is a blatant and bold-faced lie that he is espousing.

David Daniell in his The Bible in English (p. 619) writes the following.  Of course, he is writing with a particular bias against the KJV.

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.

Here's a quote from a religious journal, the Herald of Gospel Liberty, in 1912 (p. 196), far before the Seventh Day Adventist book to which Bauder refers:

We are thinking now of a letter we received a few days ago a most sincere Christian who attacks the use of any other than the King James Version on the ground that this version was as he declares authorized by God. This conception of the King James Version is more or less general in many communities.  They attach to it a God endued sanctity and authority different from other versions and hence they look with much suspicion upon all other versions and upon those folks who prefer other versions.

That was in 1912.   A family Bible printed in 1873, The New Devotional and Explanatory Pictorial Family Bible, published by The National Publishing Company, writes on pp. 10-11:

We are very sure that the results of all such investigations will be to heighten confidence in the present version, and fill the heart with unfeigned gratitude to God, for that blessed book which we now enjoy, and which, for nearly two centuries and a half, has been pouring its light and consolation wherever the English tongue is spoken. Let science toil, and diligence labor . . . let literature hold up her torch, and cast all possible light upon the sacred text, but we must and ever shall deprecate any wanton attacks upon our received version--any gratuitous attempts to supersede it by a new and different translation. It is the Bible which are godly fathers have read, and over which they have wept and prayed. It is the good old English Bible, with which are associated all our earliest recollections of religion. As such let it go down unchanged to the latest posterity.

A Rosicrucian Fellowship in 1911 made this criticism:

There is a large number of people in this country who insist that the English text of the King James version is absolutely correct from cover to cover as though the Bible bad been originally written in English and the King James version were a certified copy of the original manuscript.

Obviously the ideas of KJVO have been around for a long time.  But where did they come from?  They came from the doctrine of one Bible, which is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the London Baptist Confession.  The idea that there is more than one Bible is really the new belief.  It began to make way for textual criticism in the late 1800s.  If Words will not pass away and jots and tittles will not pass away, then surely the one Bible that God inspired, He also would preserve.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Brandenburg, are there any 'scholarly' (I cringe to even use the term) works that document the historical trail of God's preserved text? or was it not an issue till W&H? I would think it would have been commented on but I'm ignorant of the historical resources that point it out.

Thomas Ross said...

Dear Greg,

Check out the study of Baptist Confessions and the TR at

Anonymous said...

will do, thanks!!

Ronnie C said...

So strange that the MIRACLE of Preservation only worked till 1611......I believe Gods power to preseve his word from the original autographs through the various scribes and manuscipts and codexes, continued through the canonization compilation of the KJV.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Kent, I thought you might be interested in the following that I ran across. In the late 1820s, Alexander Campbell created quite a stir among the Baptists in Kentucky. Many today only remember that he taught baptismal regeneration, but he and his followers also got in trouble with the Baptists over his Living Oracles New Testament. The writing at the following link, by Campbell, shows that some of his opposition considered the King James Bible as the only true word of God. On the other hand, Campbell's arguments sound pretty much like the contemporary anti-KJV folks.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Very interesting. I looked at your sidebar and you did some very good work there that debunks the lie that KJVO started with seventh day adventists. That is the most common view I hear.


Unknown said...

Thanks. I've been enjoying going through your posts on the Bible -- and other topics as well.