Today we will be answering Fred Butler’s claims from chapter 3 of his book, Royal Deceptions: Exposing the KING JAMES ONLY Conspiracies Against God Word. We are skipping chapter 2 because, although it has few bad thoughts that could be picked apart, it is more of an introduction to his claim of six arguments for KJV-Onlyism.
So we will be jumping into “The Exclusivity Argument”. This chapter will be divided into two parts. This is Butler’s own division where he first tries to show what is wrong about “The Exclusivity Argument” and then tries to show how KJV-Onlyists will defend the doctrine and how that is wrong. The next article in this series will cover the second part of chapter 3.
Whether purposely or not, Butler fails to demonstrate that he understands the basic principles of KJV-Onlyism. (The best guess is that it was done deliberately. Doctor Ruckman correctly called Alexandrians, like Butler, PROFESSIONAL LIARS.)
If you misrepresent the first and most basic principles of an argument, then the rest of your attempted exposé will fall apart. So it is with Butler’s book. However we will tredge on.
In Butler’s defense, people make all kinds of arguments about all kinds of subjects. Among those are plenty of examples of shoddy reasoning. Surely, there are some KJV-Onlyists who would use Butler’s “Exclusivity Argument” as “the key presupposition of KJV Onlyism.” These people are a minority. I’ve been around the debate for over a decade and I’ve yet to hear any of my friends use this argument.
If it’s just a misunderstanding, maybe Butler will read this article and get straightened out. I won’t be holding my breath. The chances of a man writing a book and then changing his mind 100% is the same as “the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.” It’s nonexistent. “…a scorner heareth not rebuke.” Prov 13:1
Butler’s So-Called Exclusivity Argument
Butler states that, “The exclusivity argument is the idea that the King James Bible exclusively contains the infallible, inerrant, and inspired Word of God.” The KJB does explicitly contain the infallible, inerrant,and inspired words of God, but it is not a starting point for KJV-Onlyism. He goes on to claim that it is. He says, “We could express the argument in the formula, the KJV alone = the Word of God alone. That is the key presupposition of KJV Onlyism. It is the main argument on which the following five all turn.”
Notice that he calls the Exclusivity Argument, “the key presupposition.” THIS IS FALSE. The key presupposition of KJV-Onlyism is as follows:
THE PERFECT WORDS OF GOD EXIST SOMEWHERE.
One could technically roll back the argument one more step and say: “God is perfect, therefore his words must be perfect and since God is eternal, his perfect words must be eternal, too.” But ultimately it’s the same thing.
After that presupposition, we see that the best guess as to where those words exist is in the King James Bible. What Butler calls our presupposition is actually our conclusion. He “accidentally” turned the equation around. Ignorance or bad faith??? You decide. I say bad faith.
To prove his bad faith, you just need to look at his “source” that he uses to prove that KJV-Onlyists believe in the “Exclusivity Argument”. It is from D.A. Waite, but if you read closely, you will see how Butler twists the facts. Waite is giving the “four-fold superiority over all other English language translations.” Butler then tries to “express the argument in the formula, the KJV alone = the Word of God alone.” This is certainly not what Waite is trying to say and any honest person knows that. Butler’s paucity (a favorite term of “Greekers”) of sources for the “key presupposition” is telling.
We will observe how this all plays out as Butler tries to prove that we are wrong for believing something that we don’t believe.
Is This Circular Reasoning?
Butler’s first attack against this Quixotic Windmill is that, “the argument is circular reasoning.” Which is true… IF it were our presupposition. But it’s our conclusion. His first refutation is true, but not applicable.
Since we believe that “God’s perfect words exist somewhere,” we then proceed to examine all challengers. Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the religions of the East, and Nothing-Onlyism all believe that God’s perfect words either never existed or they existed and were lost. Of course, they all have their own particular flavors, but on this issue, they stand united on this side of the debate.
(Islam believes in the preservation of the Quran, but believes that the writing of Moses and Christ were the words of Allah and yet were subsequently LOST. This is demonstrably false, but not the topic of this article. In the end, they too believe that God can lose and fail to preserve his words.)
On the other side you have Judaism (the conservative elements at least) and KJV-Onlyism. Judaism has covered up its belief in the words of God by putting the words of the Rabbis on the same level. They were forced to do this to get around the truth that they missed their Messiah and lost their Temple. You could say that the Jewish people believe that the perfect words of God exist. But practically they have dual authorities and are followers of the Rabbis and not the Old Testament. So Judaism is out of the running.
This leaves one doctrine that actually believes and practices that God’s words exist and can be found and accessed today. You can hold them in your hands. You can read and believe them. The final authority is on my desk. They are 100% true and I can believe them no matter what anyone says about them.
So the equation is: God’s word exists + KJV is only challenger = KJV-Onlyism. THIS ISN’T CIRCULAR REASONING. You can disagree with it. It’s a free country. But calling this circular reasoning is false. Butler is wrong again.
“One Translation” vs “No Translation”
Butler moves to his next point against the Exclusivity Argument by saying, “Second, the Bible never claims God’s Word is only found in one translation.” Of course, this is true. But, if you are honest (unlike Butler), you must also admit that the Bible also never claims that God’s Word is only found in the lost originals or only found in NOTHING. It also never claims that multiple translations that come from different manuscript families and disagree with each other are together to be considered “God’s Word”. We must never forget that this is Butler’s position; even if he himself will never clearly articulate it.
I’ll keep saying it: whatever problems there may be with KJV-Onlyism, Nothing-Onlyism is worse. Only dishonest skeptics, like Butler’s Alexandrians, can’t see that.
Back To Church History…
Like the good, pseudo-Catholic that he is, Butler then runs back to his “argumentum ad historiam ecclesiasticam”. (Sorry if that’s poor Latin, I know how unreliable Google Translate can be…) That is to say, he runs back to church history. He says, “Third, King James Onlyism has never been the historic Christian view of the Bible.” Which means absolutely nothing.
You can find a hundreds of years of historical support from hundreds of Europe’s most popular “Christian” writers in favor of the teaching that God wants us to grab swords and maim and murder the infidel Turks and Saracens in Outremer (the Middle East). AKA, you can find plenty of support for the bloody Crusades in an appeal to “Church History”. If you’re honest, this proves that “historic Christian views” amount to little more than an ounce of horsefeathers. “What saith the Scriptures?”
Were we to limit the scope of Church History to the application of the abhorrent doctrines of Calvin, then we would again find support for the anti-biblical action of murdering people who disagree with us. The Servetus Affair exists and tells us all we need to know about the political application of Calvinism no matter how much Calvinists get upset when we bring it up.
So again we go back to “What saith the Scriptures?”
But Butler goes a step further and brings up another ridiculous claim that Nothing-Onlyists have been bringing up more and more these days. Butler, as another infamous writer named Mark Ward, tries to equate KJV-Onlyism with a big nothingburger called “Vulgate-Onlyism”. He writes, “The closest we come to seeing any form of “onlyism” in Church history is the slavish devotion the Roman Catholic Church had with the Latin Vulgate.”
Butler demonstrates a fallacy of false equivalence. In reality, the medieval Roman Catholic view of the Vulgate is not like KJV-Onlyism and it has more in common with Nothing-Onlyism’s view of the Greek texts of the Bible. Let’s compare and contrast.
Differences Between KJV-Onlyism and “Vulgate-Onlyism”:
- The English language is alive right now. Latin was not a spoken language during the Middle Ages.
- KJV-Onlyism makes the Bible more accessible. “Vulgate-Onlyism” kept the Bible away from people.
- A huge percentage (95+%) of KJV-Only people are in favor of Bible translations. Those foreign language Bibles will never be 100% like the King James Bible. So-called “Vulgate-Onlyism” was against Bible translations.
- KJV-Onlyism exists and has thousands of adherents. It’s debatable if “Vulgate Onlyism” was ever even a thing…
Similarities Between “Going to the Greek and Hebrew” and “Vulgate-Onlyism”:
- Both languages are dead languages at the time of their respective importance. Latin was dead during the Dark Ages. Biblical Greek is dead today (although some try to debate this, it’s still true). How Biblical Hebrew (and Aramaic in Ezra and Daniel) should be translated is very debatable. Just ask the Jews, they’ll tell you all our translations are wrong.
- They make the words of God less accessible. Scholars are needed to help common people understand.
- Neither believed that they ever held a 100% pure Bible in their hands.
- Makes the authors of Greek and Latin lexicons very powerful and influential.
- One set of scholars can say one thing and another set of scholars can say another thing. The teacher can present either scholar as authoritative. It’s his personal choice.
Hopefully, this will clearly show how Butler and other contemporary writers about Bible versions have made a big mistake by equating KJV-Onlyism and “Vulgate-Onlyism”.
In all fairness, we should note the common points between them.
Similarities Between KJV-Onlyism and “Vulgate-Onlyism”:
- Believed going “back to the Greek” is unnecessary.
- Modern scholars hate them because it puts them out of a job.
Differences Between “Going to the Greek and Hebrew” and “Vulgate-Onlyism”:
- There are more differences between versions of the Greek compared to versions of the Latin Vulgate.
- Typically “Greekers” don’t believe in the Apocrypha, like the Latinists. That said, the existence of apocryphal books (in the OT and the NT) in Siniaticus and Vaticanus put them in an awkward position.
If we were to sum things up, we would note that the main reason that modern Greek scholars hate both KJV-Onlyism and “Vulgate-Onlyism” is because it hurts their wallets. They are upset that it takes food off their table. So to get out of it, scholars like Butler try to connect two very views of the Bible. They are not the same.
So then, what view of the Bible bears the most similarity to KJV-Onlyism? At the risk of sounding proud or exultant, I would say that the answer is this: It is most similar to the view that Christ, David, and Paul had towards the Book that they held in their hands. Scholars may cringe at that, but if there were another view of the Bible that matched the views of the great heroes of the Bible, then I would believe that view.
Christ, David, and Paul never talked about, “A better translation would be…”. They never said, “This is an unfortunate mistranslation…” They never even hinted at the thought that their 1400 year old copy of the books of Moses needed updating. If you asked Paul what his written Final Authority was, he would have said the Hebrew Old Testament sitting on his desk. There is no hint in any Bible on the face of this planet that shows that God thinks anything good about the “$cience of Textual Criticism”.
In spite of any incongruities, KJV-Onlyism is the best attitude towards the Bible on the theological market. Nothing-Onlyism and the newfangled idea of “Vulgate-Onlyism” don’t win, place, or show. They have no similarities with any belief found in the Bible. Unless it is the belief of the Devil…
But who wants to hear that?
KJV-Onlyism, Foreign Translations, And The Final Authority
We have already noted the fact that most KJV-Only people are in favor of translations into foreign languages. There are exceptions, but it would be deceptive to try and make the claim that we are against putting the Bible into other languages. Nevertheless, like a midget drowning in a glass of water, Butler foolishly claims, “Fourth, the idea of God’s Word only contained in the KJV limits the Bible’s availability to the world.”
I am a foreign missionary who is looking to translate the Bible into a foreign language. I would know the facts of this debate. I have dozens of churches that support my endeavors. That would translate into thousands of people who think that I am doing the right thing by translating the Bible. The existence of my ministry is absolute proof that Butler is misrepresenting KJV-Onlyism on this topic.
But maybe Butler is guilty of making a lesser error than lying.
Again, I am speaking for the vast majority of KJV-Onlyists when I say that although the Bible can and should be translated into foreign languages, it will never be the Final Authority like the King James Version. Those translations will never be perfect like the King James Bible.
So Butler puts these words into Sam Gipp’s mouth: “there really is no need to trouble ourselves making the Bible available in foreign languages.” Sam Gipp said nothing of the sort. He never implied this in any way, shape, or form. Look at Butler’s footnote which will send you here. The issue at hand is whether these foreign language Bibles are “PERFECT” not “should we translate into foreign languages”. Butler has conflated two issues.
Why does that keep happening to Butler? Why does that keep happening to Nothing-Onlyists? Maybe they aren’t as smart as they’d have us believe.
To add to Butler’s poor understanding of the issues at hand, we would add the fact that Butler’s beliefs aren’t that much different than ours about foreign translations. Although we differ on the family of manuscripts that should be used in translation, we both should end up with more or less usable foreign language Bible translations that are NOT PERFECT.
How do these facts escape Butler’s notice??? Our outlook on foreign Bible translations is surprisingly similar. In condemning us and our attitude, he is condemning himself and his attitude. But instead of recognizing this fact, he instead puts words into Brother Gipp’s mouth. This happens after writing a whole chapter in his book about how horrible Riplinger is for supposedly not portraying Westcott and Hort perfectly…
Call it what you want. I’ll call it intellectual hypocrisy and outright lying.
Butler Finishes On One Last Dud
Butler concludes his list of reasons why the “Exclusivity Argument” is wrong by writing, “Fifth, the KJV alone = the Word of God alone is purely subjective.” The dictionary defines “subjective” as “Dependent on or taking place in a person’s mind rather than the external world.” This is his way of saying that real, $cientific people, like him, would never believe something that “goes against the evidence” like KJV-Onlyism.
But regardless of all this, as I’ve stated numerous times throughout this article, KJV-Only people don’t believe the “Exclusivity Argument” as formulated by Butler. So whether or not it is “subjective” is irrelevant. We believe that a perfect copy of God’s words exists somewhere today and the only contender is the King James Bible.
He continues by saying, “KJVO advocates believe their position with a subjective, blind faith.” However, this is not true. There is no “blind faith” in KJV-Onlyism. Scoffers like Butler are just trying to frame the argument that way. They want the common people to think that KJV-Onlyism is a rejection of the facts. They want people to think that only stupid people would believe that the KJB is perfect. But of course this isn’t true.
As I noted in the first article in this series, it is amazing how this attitude is shared by atheists, like Dawkins, Hawking, Harris, etc., and the proponents of the modern versions. Their attitude towards their intellectual opponents is virtually identical. To sum it up, they make it sound like anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot. And that’s fine. It just needs to be pointed out from time to time.
I don’t necessarily think that atheists and textual critics are idiots, but I do think that there is a dishonesty and a hypocritical spirit behind them and their arguments. They love to misrepresent the other side. As an example, let’s look at one of Butler’s last statements in this section.
He says, “I find it amazing that a group of individuals who would normally decry the mysticism often practiced by charismatics when it comes to knowing God, so readily embrace the same form of mysticism for their favored translation.” There you have it, folks. The doctrine of KJV-Onlyism is “the same form of mysticism” as the beliefs of the Charismatics according to dishonest skeptics like Butler.
This poor comparison is as slanderous and dishonest as Butler’s comparison of KJV-Onlyism to “Vulgate-Onlyism”. It is as ridiculous as when atheist Richard Dawkins compares Christians to the Taliban. They have almost nothing in common, but that won’t stop Dawkins and it won’t stop Butler.
This lying is all the more hypocritical after Butler has already written page after page against Riplinger’s supposed poor representation of Westcott and Hort.
As I always say, believe what you want about the King James Bible. But don’t think that Butler and his book are good reasons to reject it.
Stay tuned. More to come. Hope this is a blessing.