Today I will be using this blog post to respond to another blogger named Clarke Morledge. He posts at sharedveracity.net and he recently wrote an article about Michael Heiser. Of course, Heiser has been a frequent topic on this blog and Mr. Morledge linked to one of my articles about Heiser.
I was glad for the link. It was a blessing. Some of the info about me in his post was incorrect and I wrote a comment that attempted to clear up the misunderstanding. Mr. Morledge graciously responded and he wrote the following comment that I will be responding to in this post.
Hopefully this exchange will be a blessing. I would like to say upfront that there will be no personal attacks or snark in this article and anything that may sound like that is only a result of my poor writing.
As usual, my comments are in bold.
Hi, Vake. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Thank you, too.
I am glad to hear that you recommend some of the things that Greg Koukl teaches. I do, too. I stand corrected in my blanket assertion that you do not value contemporary evangelical scholarship. At least we have some common ground here. Amen.
I do not sense the need to address further any particular “issue” with your article that takes Michael Heiser to task at the moment. We would have to cover some more basic ground before trying to do any of that. This is 100% correct, sir. I am really happy that you are familiar enough with this debate to know this. Unfortunately many don’t understand that the most important topic and doctrine is “Final Authority”. One of this blog’s goals is to help some people to see that. Praise the Lord.
I am curious to know if you would really describe yourself as a “King James Only-ist”, and if so, why you believe that position to be so compelling? Yes sir. I am a “King James Only-ist” and I will try to use the rest of this post to show why I believe that position to be so compelling. If I may, I would like to ask the question back to you. You believe that something besides the KJB is the perfect and preserved words of God, correct? I would like to know why you believe THAT position to be so compelling. If I had to sum up my argument, it would be that King James Only-ism fits the evidence better than any other position I’ve heard.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but the assertion that the Greek text that undergirds the King James Version of the Bible inerrantly preserves the actual original New Testament, appears to be based on a presupposition, rather than a position arrived at on the basis of actual evidence. Here I will need to correct a misunderstanding. KJV onlyism believes the King James Bible. What you are describing is a form of TR Onlyism. Whether the TR (or one of the TRs) inerrantly preserves the actual original NT or not is not my point. In fact, I find that the TR is wrong in some places. For example, it is wrong in I John 2:23 where my copy of Stephanus’ 1550 TR lacks “but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” Where the TR and KJV differ shows the difference between a TR-Only and KJV-Only person.
To be clear, I find great value in the King James Version, Amen. and I am persuaded that on certain passages that the KJV does a better job in getting at the original meaning of the text, better than most modern Bible translations. If I may ask: Based on what standard do you find it to have done “a better job”? How can a person prove that? If the answer is “scholarship”, then how is “scholarship” proving it? But the overall analysis of the available evidence seems to favor the efforts of modern translations to get at a more accurate reading of the original Greek New Testament, than the KJV was able to get at it, and even better than the Textus Receptus that came out after the first edition of the KJV was published in 1611. Two things here. First, I hope you are not suggesting that the TR came out after 1611. There are some TRs that came out after 1611, but many are from before. My Stephanus TR is from 1550. Second, how can a person know “accuracy” from something that doesn’t exist. I hope we can both agree that the original Greek New Testament does not exist today. It is gone (and probably never existed in one book or codex). So how can a person determine “accuracy” when there is no target? These are the issues that I have with people who say the KJV is wrong. I ask them, “Based on what?” And they can’t answer.
That being said, I commend most scholarly modern translations that make good faith attempts to footnote where the modern Nestle-Aland text differs with the KJV/TR. Are you suggesting that the Nestle-Aland text is the “original Greek”? We both know that they change the text every 5 or so years. They’re on the 28th edition now. There have been some major changes over the years. Which one is the “words of the living God” (Jer 23:36)? In other words, while the Bible does not err, it is comforting to know that even the best Bible translators today show a good deal of humility in accepting the possibility that they themselves might err when it comes to making difficult decisions about a particular textual issue. It would appear that the original KJV translators under King James’ supervision would have agreed as much with their own work. I do not agree that the KJV translators would have placed as much emphasis on the corrupted manuscripts of Vaticanus (B) or Siniaticus (א). But this is just theorizing on both our parts. As far as their attitude towards “making difficult decisions about a particular textual issue”, then yes, you are right. The KJV translators would agree with you. However, I consider this a mute point as many of the translators were amillennial, high church, baby sprinklers which I categorically reject. They produced something that God used in spite of their problems. We see the same thing with the author of most of the Psalms, David. He was a murderer and an adulterer, but God still used what he wrote as Scripture.
I did glance at your pro-KJV-only article that critiques Michael Heiser’s view on modern Bible translations:
I think you will find that any rejoinder to your arguments that I would give will probably parallel James White and D.A. Carson’s work on the subject. I am not anywhere near a scholar at White or Carson’s level, so I do not think I would be able to contribute any more to a discussion that has been worked over many, many times. Fair enough, then I will thank you for letting me contribute my arguments. If I were to sum up the issue that I have with them, it would be that they don’t apply their criticisms of the KJV to their own theories about what I call “Nothing Onlyism”. If a person wants to be critical, that’s fine. But they should be equally critical of both sides. I have never observed White or Carson to have done this.
I would ask you a follow-up question, assuming my understanding above is correct: On a scale of 1-to-10, with 1 having a low level of confidence, and 10 having the highest level of confidence, how would you rank your confidence in your belief that the Greek text behind the KJV is THE preserved original text of the New Testament? 8 or 9. But I hope I’ve laid out enough already for you to understand that while I believe the Greek text behind the KJV to be many lightyears better than the Wescott-Hort and Nestle-Aland texts, I still don’t believe any edition of the TR is completely perfect. I put that only on the King James Bible. I base this on “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psa 12:6-7. By definition, each purification is better than the last.
Thanks, and blessings to you in your blogging. Thank you and to you as well.
PS. I also have a couple more articles with more proofs. I’ll link those here.