Today we will look at the second part of chapter four of Fred Butler’s book, Royal Deceptions: Exposing The King James Only Conspiracies Against God’s Word. We will observe Butler’s claim to answer the question, “How exactly do KJVO apologists defend the exclusivity argument?”
To say that what Butler tries to write is muddled and sloppy would be a great understatement. This is especially true after we showed in our previous article that Butler’s “Exclusivity Argument” is not an accurate representation of the main argument of KJV-Onlyism.
The degree to which this book misrepresents KJV-Onlyism, obliges us to invoke the ninth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” We must continually point out the hypocrisy of the author when he bemoans Gail Riplinger’s supposed misrepresentation of the doctrines and beliefs of the “fathers of the modern versions” Westcott and Hort, and then proceeds to misrepresent KJV-Onlyism.
Since Butler’s book seems to have a decent following, we will continue to make these articles assuming that perhaps some of the book’s readership will want an explanation from the other side. Lord willing, these articles will be a help to those people.
Stumped By The “Stumper Question”
Sometimes a question or topic will come up that is so important that we can use a person’s reaction to it to judge their honesty and integrity. For years, I’ve dealt with people who “just want to love everybody” and “don’t believe in a God of hate” by asking a simple question. I ask if they believe you can love flowers without hating weeds. Some will stop and realize that yes, the law of opposites is true and that for there to be love, there must also be hate. However some will continue on in their delusion. Those who think that it is possible to love flowers and weeds equally are not honest and it’s time for me as a workman for the Lord to move on.
A similar situation is happening to Butler here. He is familiar enough with the arguments of KJV-Onlyists (even though he has been dishonestly representing them) to know the importance of this question: “Where’s your infallible Bible?” He calls it a “stumper question” and states that it “is designed as a set up.” He even admits that “the question appears reasonable” but… “only on the surface.”
It has to be said that a better question would be “What is your Final Authority?” But the two questions are essentially the same. Alexandrians are not able answer either form of the question.
Now notice, in a situation eerily similar to the Pharisees’ dealings with Christ on the topic of the AUTHORITY of John’s baptism (Matt 21), how BUTLER NEVER ANSWERS THE QUESTION. Butler is absolutely stumped by the stumper question. He pleads the Fifth (American saying). Of course, no one is required to answer a question if it is complete nonsense, but how can you possibly think that this simple question is nonsense???
If two people are arguing about what color and how tall a certain tree is, would it not be appropriate to figure out which tree we are arguing about? Frankly, not answering the question is more than a little bit unhinged. It goes without saying that theological arguments are wrong if they aren’t Biblical (at least if you are claiming to be Sola Scriptura). But what Bible are we talking about? If we don’t answer that question, then we are in a mess. KJV-Onlyism answers that question. Butler doesn’t like our answer, but as we’ve pointed out in dozens of articles on this site, Nothing-Onlyists, like Butler, have no replacement for it. Whatever flaws our doctrine might have, it’s infinitesimally better than NOTHING.
Butler thinks, “There are two problems with the stumper question.”
He writes, “First, my response is to ask him to define what he means by infallible.” Ok, so the first problem is literally a dictionary question? Ok, then here’s your answer: “incapable of error, not liable to mislead, deceive, or disappoint, incapable of error in defining doctrines touching faith or morals”. Easy enough. There shouldn’t be any problems there.
But he continues to plunge deeper into the depths when he follows this question with, “If he has also thrown out the descriptions “inerrant” or “pure and preserved” I also ask him to define those terms as well.” He later adds “I will call upon the KJVO advocate for a definition of the idea of corruption”. So we tell him to go get a dictionary and then be honest and admit that his first “problem with the stumper question” is a pathetic joke. The problem is easily solved with a three minute consultation with a dictionary.
Of course, we could be crude and bring up the similarities between this and Bill Clinton’s “It depends on what the definition of the word “is” is..” nonsense. But we’ll just mention in passing.
Butler then writes, “Secondly, it is also his burden to show why the KJV reading is to be favored over the non-KJV reading.” This is a classic deflection. He brings up a very important question, but it is a question that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. After a person answers, “What is your Final Authority?” then we can do a comparison between the two competitors. When the question has been answered, then we can talk about why the KJB is better than the NIV, Aleph, ESV, the Quran, Pope, or “scholarship”.
Because Butler refuses to answer the original question about Final Authority, there is no sense in figuring out “burden of proof” issues like this. It’s too general. The first question MUST be answered first. Again we see an unwillingness to deal with the issues in a proper order.
So Butler refuses to answer the question and tries to mess around with the definition of words and deflect. These are dishonest tactics in any debate. It is a good example of bankruptcy of the Nothing-Onlyist position. It demonstrates that they can’t answer the questions. Maybe that’s the only good thing about Butler’s book.
The Autographic Text Versus The Autographic Codex
If you can believe it, Butler hasn’t even gotten to his most muddled and distorted points. Continuing on in his rebuttal of KJV-Onlyist’s rebuttals, he writes, “A second rebuttal by KJV advocates in defense of their view of exclusivity is what I call the “original autographs have turned to dust” argument.” Which, although goofy wording, is absolutely true and would be proven in a court of law in about five minutes. If a person denies this, then they are not dealing with reality.
He writes about KJV-Onlyists that, “Paul’s original letter to Titus no longer exists, they argue…” “THEY ARGUE???” There is no argument to it. If you think that Paul’s original letter to Titus exists today you are living in cloudland.
You’re probably thinking that there HAS to be an explanation for this and there is. Kind of. He writes, “There are a couple of identifiable problems with that line of argument. First, KJV onlyists muddle the distinction between what is called the autographic text, the words of the document, from the autographic codex, the physical documents.” There you have it folks! If you think that Paul’s original letters to Timothy are gone today, then you are MUDDLING things up! Oh, boy.
The subtleness here is palpable. The idea behind this is so arcane and hidden that when I searched on Google for more reading about “Autographic Codex” it asked me if I actually meant “Autographic Kodak”. What is it about Alexandrians that makes them unable to say things plainly? Butler already demonstrated this flaw when he tried to mess around with the basic definitions of plain words like infallible, corrupt, etc. This is a great problem for these men in light of the Bible which says, “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all PLAIN to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.” Prov 8:8-9 (The capitalized word is mine.)
So here we see another example of deceptive wordplay used by Nothing-Onlyists. Any “user of words” will use the term “original autographs” to mean the paper and ink used by Matthew, Mark, Paul, etc in the first century AD. THOSE ARE GONE. Butler is trying to pull a switcheroo and make you think that the term “original autographs” (“autographic codex” in his words) is the words that are used (“autographic text” in his terms). Only a snake would try and equate these two very different ideas into the term “original autographs”.
If you’re honest, there is absolutely no debate about the fact that the paper and ink originals are gone. The debate is over whether we have the exact words in the extant manuscripts. That is fine. But don’t change the meaning of the words!
The ability to stoop to this level of argument shows us a lot about the type of people that write books against KJV-Onlyism. I don’t read books like this having a preconceived notion that Butler is dishonest. I am sure I will disagree with Butler, but I would never claim he is dishonest before I read the book. But it is the only conclusion I can make after watching him handle words this way.
Regardless of your stance on Bible versions, don’t pretend that “original autographs” means anything other than the pen and ink used by the writers of the New Testament. And if you are willing to debase yourself to this level of argument, don’t claim that KJV-Onlyists are “muddling” distinctions.
But of course, Butler doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say, “It is factually mistaken to say the loss of the original autographs entails the loss of God’s Word, because the overabundance of biblical, textual evidence witnesses against such a claim.” I hope no one is dumb enough to think that this is what KJV-Onlyists believe. We believe that God’s Word (meaning God’s words in this case) was preserved through history and exists today in perfect form.
If you think that KJV-Onlyists teach that God’s Word is lost, then I’ve got some oceanfront property just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska to sell you. It’s got a nice little dock and the dolphins love to play at dusk.
Moving on without delay, Butler mixes into this milieu of deception that, “Textual critical techniques allow Christians to determine to near perfection what the originals did say and that in turn rubs against the KJVO view of preservation because it does not necessarily favor exclusively the base texts used to translate the KJV.” But we’ve been watching and hearing this song and dance for years. “Textual critical techniques” are as biased as evolutionary dating techniques. Their mutual claims to be able “to determine to near perfection” are nothing more than hot air. Butler’s Final Authority is his own opinion.
If Textual Criticism teaches us anything “to near perfection” it is that its adherents are subject to no authority greater than their own opinions. They have that in common with atheists and skeptics of Christianity no matter how much Butler would like to act like KJV-Onlyism is connected to atheism.
So in trying to make this perverse connection between atheism and KJV-Onlyism, Butler writes, “The counter-Reformation apologists argued that no one can know what the Bible really says because there were no originals with them during their day, what basically amounts to the same argument modern KJVO apologists raise.” This is a complete, deliberate distortion of the truth.
“KJVO apologists” may make a similar argument, but it is predicated on something. It is predicated on the belief that “If the originals are the only Final Authority… then ‘no one can know what the Bible really says’”. To leave out that crucial difference between the arguments of KJVO and counter-Reformation apologists is the height of duplicity. We don’t believe that the originals are the Final Authority. We are back to what we said in the introduction: “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Do better, Fred!
Butler concludes this section of the book as he has done before, not by pointing to Scripture to back up his beliefs, but by going to church “babies” (often called church fathers) and writers during the time of the Reformation. It’s a very telling thing to do. To go back to an earlier illustration, it would be like reading people’s writings about the tree to determine what the tree looks like instead of actually looking at the tree.
If those church “babies” and “babies” of the Reformation taught that only the originals were inspired, then what does that matter? If you are a Biblical Christian, it doesn’t matter much at all. The same is true when we see these same men teaching Replacement Theology, Baptismal Regeneration, and the Primacy of the Roman Bishop. We are like Paul who asked “What saith the Scriptures?”
Maybe Butler should have gone to the following verses to prove that he has been right all along.
II Chromonocles 5:14-56 – “Thou shalt not believe that a translation is a Final Authority. I the Lord thy God am not able to make this happen. I can only create stars and make asses to speak and stuff.”
Mavtias 4:194 – “I the Lord will make a bunch of schools in Europe and America that will be staffed with men who don’t do personal work or preach on the streets or in the jails, but will spend a bunch of time on Twitter. These holy “MOGs” or men of God will be able to tell you what is really scripture and what is not.”
Micronicus 005:2 – “The unbelievers thought that’s what I said but they forgot that in this case I was using the 8 case system of Greek declension and not the normal 5 case system. Their infidel hearts translated the word in Dative when it should have been in Ablative. What a bunch of monkeys!”
III Preter 1:5-3 – “People who believe that they hold the Scriptures in their hands like David, Christ, and Paul are really lame-o, saith the Lord.”
Of course it all depends on your interpretation, manuscript evidence, and textual criticism whether those verses “count” or not!!!
Please note that in the silly section above, I never called those Bible verses. They most certainly are not. I just wrote them to absurdly illustrate what a hypothetical verse that teaches the doctrines of Nothing-Onlyism would look like.
It would be better to go by verses that point us towards the KJV-Only position like:
“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
“Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” Psa 119:140
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Pro 30:5-6
“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psa 119:89
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isa 40:8
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Mat 24:35
“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1Pe 1:25
Fred Butler will take many of these verses and “deconstruct” them in the next chapters. Hopefully, you will see that KJV-Onlyism is the best way of dealing with these verses and most closely matches the attitudes of Christ, Paul, and David.
Please stay tuned for more. May the Lord bless you.