One of my biggest Christian inspirations is Dr. Peter Ruckman. Unfortunately, Dr. Ruckman—a divisive figure if ever there was one in the Independent Fundamental Baptist church—passed away on April 21st. Instead of remembering the lyrics to Purple Rain, like everyone else on social media, I reminisced about one of the greatest evangelists of the last century.
When someone asks me a question about Bible translation, I answer that I believe that the King James is the best and most accurate translation, and I ONLY use it. Unbeknownst to me, this can get some “theologians” all riled up. And whenever I discuss the KJV, I appeal to the work of Dr. Ruckman that I learned when I was a kid.
At around 10 years old, I was exposed to a whole host of arguments from Ruckman and Gail Riplinger that, in my opinion, did an excellent job of criticizing the other translations—most of which are based on the famed Westcott and Hort text. So, for me, this debate has been over for 25 years. However, this past week has caused me to do some refreshing study.
In the past week I found myself in the middle of more than one conversation about the “best” translation of the Bible into the English language. Admittedly, I was caught a little off guard as the graduates of Bible colleges began to use terms that I, a mere secular scholar, was actually unfamiliar with. The first, which I did not know was controversial, is the idea of being “King James Only.”
According to these modern Bible students, King James Only is not simply a reference to only using the King James Bible, but an argument of “double inspiration”. Men like Dr. Ruckman are sometimes seen as heretical for this view. I, myself, not understanding the impact of the concept, also thought it could be wrong.
Most Christians can agree that the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts written in the hand of the prophets and apostles were “inspired” by God. In other words, the literal words from God were penned by men. Double inspiration becomes controversial in that some Christians believe that the King James Bible is ALSO inspired in the same way that the original texts were.
After some research, I have come to the conclusion that I am not only as heretical as Dr. Ruckman, but should probably be kicked out of the church altogether, because I am inclined to believe in not only double, but multiple inspiration. Here are some of the reasons why:
- In order to be inspired, there must be not only a written, but spoken (maybe out loud, maybe in the spirit or heart—non-Christians cannot understand how this works, but Christians should be able to) component. Jesus Christ, as God in the flesh, most certainly held many conversations that were not written down. Are they Scripture? No. When Christ rescued the adulterous woman and challenged her accusers to cast the first stone, he wrote something on the ground. Is that Scripture? No. So not every word of God is THE Word of God. Thus, inspiration is more than just a communication from God, there are specific criteria for it—and God is the one who can truly determine what that is.
Inspiration need not be the direct words from God’s lips to man’s ear to parchment. Inspiration may come in many forms. What happens when those original forms are destroyed? God wrote the ten commandments by his own hand, and the tablets were broken almost instantly. What Moses brought down to the children of Israel were copies. Furthermore, what was written onto parchment was copied from the tablets. Any time someone references the commandments—including Jesus Christ—and were included in the Bible, they copied a copy of a copy.
- There are no original texts, nor have there been for many centuries. No translation of the Bible in any language has had the privilege of being translated from the original source manuscripts. What we have are translations of copies. If the original manuscripts are the only “inspired” texts, then NO modern translation is. This is absurd on its face.
What we do have is a compilation of copies of Greek and Hebrew texts that sometimes contain differences between them. The King James stands atop the rest as being 99% accurate when compared to this compilation.
There are several verses that deal with Biblical preservation, and basically God promised that His words would remain accessible to us until all the words in the book have been fulfilled. The KJV has been the dominant English translation of the Bible (both in fame and book sales) for 500 years. If that is not preservation, I would love to know what is.
3. I believe that the King James version is the literal Word of God written in English—thus making it inspired. I also believe that God speaks all of our languages, therefore there are probably literal, “inspired” translations in every language on the planet. Thus, I believe in multiple inspiration! Oh no, the heresy!
- There are some major issues with not only the translations (missing verses/changing meaning) but the translators of other versions. The worst offenders are Westcott and Hort who are behind the NIV, NKJV, NSV, and even the newly touted ESV (which is “supposed” to be the newest “superior” version to the King James).
The ESV claims to be translated from the original Greek and Hebrew…which do not exist.
It is simply and updated version of the Revised Standard Version, not the King James.
Furthermore, Westcott and Hort were: Darwinists, mockers of the first three chapters of Genesis, supporters of Mary worship, blasphemers who called the Atonement a heresy, deniers of Satan’s existence, and believers that heaven is not a real place
How can someone who does not believe in so many foundational Christian beliefs possibly produce an accurate translation of The Bible?
I am still studying this a bit, but I believe that anyone who mocks those who believe in double inspiration walk their own line of falling into heresy and judgment. I found multiple websites devoted to calling Dr. Ruckman a heretic for his views, while vaguely—and sometimes inaccurately—attacking his views and personality.
I personally find many completely logical reasons to believe in double inspiration. Again, without ANY ORIGINAL TEXTS, Christians would have to admit that not only have none of us ever read the inspired Word of God, but that God lacks the power to preserve his word throughout the ages. I am not bold enough to question His omnipotence.
Moreover, it disturbs me to find that Christian “scholars” are so petty. I believe that the issue of which translation is superior is a valid concern, regardless of “double inspiration” or “King James Only” being some sort of buzz words used to identify radicals and “Ruckmanites”—I would wear either term with a badge of honor. However, one simple question often seems to be left out when discussing the new translations: is there anything actually wrong with the KJV?
I doubt if you could find a “scholar” who can accurately point to something tangible as evidence. More people were brought to Christianity under the KJV than any other translation in human history, not bad for an allegedly flawed book. As Dr. Ruckman wrote in The Anti-Intellectual Manifesto—which is an amazing critique of the secularization running rampant in our “Christian” colleges—“The bigger the belfry, the more room for the bats.”