I wasn’t planning on posting anything on this topic because I know some who read this will take it the wrong way and completely miss the point, but last week my pastor asked me if I had heard about it, and the more I thought about it, the more I am bothered by it – but not by what you may think. First, a little background.
Pastor Jack Schaap wrote a book, Where Are We Going, in which he made comments about the King James Version and its inspiration and preservation. There was a teacher from Hyles-Anderson College (from what I have heard it was Streeter), that visited a church in Lexington, KY pastored by Jeff Fugate. This teacher made a statement to the effect of “don’t let anyone tell you the King James is inspired.” This comment along with Schaap’s book motivated Fugate to call Schaap and discuss the issue to clear up any possible misunderstanding. Fugate wasn’t satisfied with these phone calls and thus in the most recent issue of his publication, The Church Bus News, stated publicly his disagreement with Schaap. The disagreement is that Fugate believes the KJV is the inspired and preserved word of God while Schaap believes it is the preserved word of God (not inspired).
Schaap responded in an issue of his church’s publication, The Voice. In Schaap’s response, he referred to the statement of faith of another publication, The Sword of the Lord, whose editor is Shelton Smith. Smith felt like he was misrepresented by Schaap, so he wrote a letter weighing in on the issue.
Gail Riplinger, who received an honorary doctorate from Hyles-Anderson College for her work on defending the King James, decided to weigh in on the issue as well with a 75 page article. I used to be a fan of Riplinger and used to recommend her books, but I have since learned that she has twisted quotes and taken things out of context in attempts to bolster her case. She is not a trustworthy source for evidence.
However, the strangest thing in all this is the letter written by Russell Anderson who co-founded Hyles-Anderson College with Jack Hyles. He addressed his letter to Schaap, the students, faculty, and alumni of Hyles-Anderson, AND to Hyles – even though Hyles passed away 8 years ago. A large section of this letter was specifically addressed to Hyles. Anderson states in the letter he believes God has blessed Hyles-Anderson because of their teaching that the KJV was inspired and preserved. However, Hyles-Anderson was founded in 1972. In 1967, Hyles published a book on Revelation in which he corrected the King James. Also, there were students who were expelled from Hyles-Anderson in the late 70’s or early 80’s who were pushing the teaching that the KJV was inspired and preserved. It was in 1984 that Hyles switched his position to that of King James Only and even wrote in a book that an English-speaking person could not be saved unless that person heard scripture from the King James (he later softened his stance and said other translations had enough truth in them for a soul to be saved). The college was not founded with the KJVO position as Anderson portrays. Hyles was not always King James Only and neither were his friends John R. Rice or Curtis Hutson, both editors of The Sword of the Lord. (Note: providing this info is not intended as a slam on Hyles or any of the others mentioned – I am just stating the history as background info similar to what Schaap did in The Voice.)
This whole disagreement boils down to one side believes the King James is inspired and preserved whereas the other side believes it is preserved but not inspired. I would have to say that Schaap’s position is closest to the historic, orthodox position. To believe that the King James is inspired means you believe in double inspiration and that the English is the same as the Hebrew and Greek. (There are some who think the English is better than the Hebrew and Greek, but I don’t think anyone involved in this disagreement falls into that camp.) In the end, however, both sides in effect believe the same thing about the KJV: that it is the word of God and it is error-free.
So what is inspiration? Inspiration speaks of the origin of the scriptures and we see in 2 Peter 1:20-21 how the scriptures originated: it was men of old who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Let me give an illustration. I can draw a picture on a piece of paper. I can then take that paper and run it through a copier and get duplicates of my drawing. However, the copies were not drawn by me. Only the original was drawn. That is the same with the scriptures. The originals were inspired, but the copies just duplicated the words, not the inspiration. Inspiration only applies to the originals.
What is preservation? Preservation speaks of the transmission of the scripture from generation to generation. The originals – the actual manuscripts written by the apostles and prophets – have long since disappeared, but God has preserved those inspired words through the thousands of copies. We can rest assured that we have the exact inspired words of God as they were first recorded. God has preserved his inspired word. Does that mean the King James is inspired and preserved? Well, can things different be the same? No. English is not the same as Hebrew and Greek. For something to be preserved, it has to maintain the exact same qualities. Since English is not the same as Hebrew and Greek, it cannot be preservation. The King James is an accurate translation of the inspired, preserved word of God. Now, before you go and say something I haven’t said, when I hold in my hand my King James, I am holding the word of God. It has everything I need to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It does not contain errors. It is not part man’s word and part God’s. It is God’s word. It is a faithful and accurate translation of the originals.
So what bothers me the most about this whole situation which really boils down to a shouting match about semantics? Part of it is how I will be treated for writing the preceding paragraph. Some will focus on those two or three sentences I just wrote and miss the big picture. I will no doubt be castigated by some for saying the King James is not inspired and preserved. I will be portrayed as a liberal bible corrector or something similar. Some will say I don’t believe my bible. Some will say I am on a slippery slope to all things liberal and apostasy and that I will lose my children to the devil. All of that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I love my bible. I read, study, and meditate upon it everyday. I try to teach it to my children. The teaching that the KJV is inspired and preserved is a more recent development. There have been plenty of godly men and women who believed the KJV was a faithful and accurate translation of the word of God.
This whole situation is a perfect example of a major problem with those who have involved themselves in it. Jack Schaap is being castigated for his more orthodox position on the King James, but his extremely unorthodox, if not heretical, positions on other things raised nary a peep from these others, much less a letter or special issue of a publication to call him on the carpet and bring his teachings back in line with orthodoxy. He has several books where he presented unorthodox teachings. In Divine Intimacy, he put forth the idea that the Lord’s supper is akin to sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife, and he attributed the slang sexual meanings to the words “laid” and “stuck” in a couple verses from Psalms. In another book/sermon, he portrayed God as an old man that his church could wear out and force to call the rapture because they were making God work too hard. He also put forth a fantasy dialog between Jesus Christ and God the Father where the crucifixion was the result of things not going so well when Jesus came to earth and Jesus was angry and wanted to send everyone to Hell. Did we hear anything about these unorthodox (and dare I say heretical) teachings in The Church Bus News or The Sword of the Lord? I don’t recall seeing anything. Did we see these pastors writing letters and making phone calls to correct Schaap? No. And that is what bothers me. If you say the KJV is the inspired, preserved word of God, you get a free pass to teach unorthodox things, but once you deny the KJV is inspired and/or preserved, you get thrown under the bus.
These things ought not to be so. While there are some who do not believe this, the teachings (the doctrines) of the word of God are what is important (I’m currently working on a post dealing with the importance of right doctrine). If a man believes the KJV is the inspired and preserved word of God but doesn’t teach the contents of the book correctly, shouldn’t that cause more of an uproar? Aren’t we commanded in scripture to mark false teachers? Aren’t we commanded to prove all things and to earnestly contend for the faith? Weren’t the Bereans commended for searching the scriptures to see if what was preached was true? It’s time we stood up for orthodoxy and separated from false teachers.
Some may argue the teachings of another church are none of our business. However, we are told to earnestly contend for the faith. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation are recorded for all to read (making their business our business). Plus, Hyles-Anderson College is training pastors and missionaries who come into our churches to preach. Are you willing to stick your head in the ground and let future generations be misled by unorthodox teachings? It is our business.
As I said earlier, it won’t be long before I’m thrown under the bus for saying the King James is a faithful and accurate translation of the preserved and inspired word of God rather than being inspired and preserved. I used to say that the King James was inspired and preserved, but the scriptures and evidence have changed my mind. If you think I am wrong, then show me your arguments and let us reason together. Don’t just blast me and throw me under the bus.
Let us hold accountable those who are unorthodox and heretical. Don’t give them a free pass just because they say the KJV is inspired and preserved. Contend for the faith.