No Modern Versions on Campus

According to my records, I have not complained about King James Onlyism for over three months. I don’t want this blog to be a constant critique-fest. I want it to be constructive.

But there is a fire in my bones.

So here goes.

This is point 4 on the list of doctrinal distinctives at Golden State Baptist College, a school run out of Jack Trieber’s large California church:

4. The King James Version is the only English-language Bible that will be permitted on campus.

Does this mean no NASBs are permitted on the grounds? No NIVs even in the library? Are students allowed to have the ESV app on their smart phones? May they use gospel harmonies that rely on other translations? Can Greek students use BibleWorks?

I am not mocking. I am certain that many good things are taught at GSBC, and that I will love its (regenerated) faculty and students in heaven more than I love my best friends today. But I’m also certain that the Lord takes it very seriously when people sow discord among brethren (Prov. 6:19), and the King James Only movement has done just this by making their preference for an excellent but antiquated Bible translation a test of doctrinal orthodoxy—and then building faux supports for that doctrine out of texts that say no such thing.

Fundamentalism, such as it is or was or ever will be, must not permit the kind of discord-sowing evident in point 4 above.

There is a disabled, middle-aged woman who has been attending my outreach ministry off and on for the last two months. When she’s not listening to my beginners’ series on Genesis, she is at the local Mormon ward. I have encouraged her directly to leave the Mormons and continue coming to my church instead. I don’t mind stealing sheep from wolves. And this is the argument I used with her on Sunday: “Who wants you to know the Bible better, me or the Mormons?” For evidence I pointed to the fat, old, leather-clad King James the Mormons gave her; I contrasted it with the clean, paragraphed New International Reader’s Version I have been using (my hearers are not generally good readers). If you truly want someone to know what God says, you don’t hand them a Bible they can’t read.

The King James Only movement keeps (many of) God’s words out of the hands of His people—and lost people—by encasing those words in a language no one in this world speaks.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

3 thoughts on “No Modern Versions on Campus”

  1. Mark, thanks for an enlightened post and for your persistent desire to keep this issue grounded in the text of Scripture rather than upon subjective, feelings based, opinions. I believe that this horribly divisive yet extremely pervasive issue (at least it’s pervasive where I live in the Greater Phoenix area) falls under the clear category Paul warned Timothy of in I Timothy 1:3-4. “KJVOism” is clearly “ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν” as it is is characterized as “endless” (has no Scriptural termination), causes “disputes” (ἐκζητήσεις – useless speculation; out of the way researches), does not provide “godly edification,” and does not rest “in faith” (simply seeks to satisfy the intellect). No doubt your careful exegesis and patience with the uninformed and untaught conscience of some “KJVOists” will lead them to a modern translation that can and will be sweet and refreshing to their souls! In the meantime, we must pray that God will inhibit the Adversary’s attempt to divide and destroy God’s people and that He will continue to advance the Gospel by His understandable Word!

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