As a lover of the King James Bible, I am astounded at how many people respond with condemnation to any positive reference regarding this translation.
On the one hand I get it. There is that angst we all feel that is a reaction to some of the vitriolic King James Onlyists. I myself, even as an outspoken advocate of the KJV, have been called a “Bible denier” and many other similar epithets by these sorts of KJVOists. Then there is this guy.
But I am not one of “those guys”.
Over the last decade, a number of Reformed young men have begun moving over to the King James Version as their primary text for a number of reasons. Today it is becoming a tsunami. If you are missing this massive wave back to the Bible of the English Reformation among confessional, Reformed Christians you’ll soon see it because it is only picking up speed.
The thing is, this move to the King James Version among Reformed evangelicals is not a move to King James Onlyism. It is the rare exception where any of these guys are not also consulting modern translations and even referencing them where they think they have better captured the sense of the text than the KJV. Is there a concern among them with many aspects of the modern Bible movement? Yes. Does this mean they believe modern versions can never do anything right? No.
This has been the spirit of what I will call The Reformed KJV Resurgence. That said, the way many people respond to us is astounding. Simply going into a large Christian group on Facebook and saying, “I really like the KJV”, often leads to a flame war. I’ve had a number of people mention this to me over the last few weeks. Even going out of our way to qualify that we are NOT King James Onlyists and giving credit where credit is due to translations like the NASB and the ESV (also popular among the confessionally Reformed) doesn’t appear to douse the flames.
What we are seeing is the adoring little brother of King James Onlyism. This spirit can rightly be called Modern-Version Onlyism (MVOism). MOVism shares these things in common with KJVOism.
- An immediate negative response to the advocacy (of any sort) of the KJV. [just as KJVists respond negatively to any positive statement about another version]
- An implicit trust in modern textual scholarship and translational methodology. While I often see MVOists attempting to engage in the scholarship, it is very rare to come across someone engaging in a flame war over the KJV who has even a rudimentary understanding that undergirds their favored translation though they will speak as if they are an expert.
[just as KJVists implicitly trust in every decision in translation made by the KJV translation committee]
- A stubborn refusal to even attempt to understand where men in The Reformed KJV Resurgence are coming from or truly study the issues for themselves. [just as KJVOists label those they disagree with as “Bible deniers” and other such accusations when the truth is there are many people who make use of the modern versions who have a high view of Scripture AND many KJVOists don’t appear interested in really studying out the issues either but will go to the mat on the subject]
- An exaggerated position regarding the problems (real and imagined) inherent with the KJV. [just as KJOists exaggerate the problems with modern versions]
- A tendency to divisive behavior over this issue. (just as…ok, you get it 😉 )
- Conflating The Reformed KJV Resurgence with KJOism whether directly or indirectly. (just as KJOists slander and mischaracterize where many of their believing opponents are coming from]
I could go on and I could even expand the list to include how liberal “Christians” jump on the MVOism bandwagon because they absolutely hate the orthodoxy of the KJV on matters such as feminism and gender issues, the LGBTQ??? crowd, ‘patriarchal language’ and some key Christian doctrines. I’ll leave it here though because I’m addressing this problem from within the actual believing community. Yes, I count many of these Modern-Version Onlyists to be my brothers in Christ.
That said, it’s very bizarre behavior and I’m even seeing it from some very prominent teachers.
However, as an advocate of The Reformed KJV Resurgence, I am seeing a positive aspect to this. I have received quite a bit of correspondence from people who have been awakened to look into this subject BECAUSE of the irrationality of MVOism they are seeing online. They suspect there is something going on—on a spiritual level—and are beginning to suspect there may be something here worth looking into.
Modern-Version Onlyism is quickly becoming one of the chief means fueling The Reformed KJV Resurgence. How ironic 🙂