There is a history of cults among us that goes back to Bible times. “I am of Paul,” “I am of Peter” etc. There have always been exclusive groups that claimed exclusive rights to God’s favor. The Jehovah’s Witnesses in our own day claim they are the only people of God.
These people demand allegiance to concepts that God did not ordain. They are not fanatics for truth. We understand persons who cleave vehemently to belief in the resurrection of Christ. We understand why they are suspicious of, even disassociate from, persons who do not hold such a basic doctrine. This is not cultism. What God has said ought indeed to be guarded with zealous fortitude.
But to say, and even demand, something that God never said, for example, that a particular translation of the English Bible, 1600 years after Jesus lived and died here, is to be slavishly adopted by every born again child of God, to the utter exclusion and perhaps even condemnation of all children of God on the planet who are in disagreement… well, that is cultism.
Truly, God never said what they are saying. Therefore, I am not bound to say or believe it either. The Word of God that came from prophet and apostle is one thing. The translation of that word into a language foreign to those prophets and apostles is something else.
We’ve been talking of English. But look at this Wikipedia statement of the KJVO case:
One of them, Perry Emopoulos, was a director of the translation of the King James Bible into Russian. In 2010 the Russian translation of the KJV of the New Testament was released in Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2017 the first complete edition of the Russian King James Biblewas released.”
So now, we will take an English Bible that was translated from a Greek text, and translate the English, not the original Greek, into other languages!
Way too far, folks, way too far. Let the scholars of the nations translate from the Greek manuscripts directly, without the “benefit” of KJV errors… which do abound, though they are minor and do not affect one’s salvation or growth.
The following article I found online expresses, for the most part, my own feelings about the modern KJVO movement. It was written by Michael Houdmann, founder of “Got Questions”, a worthwhile Bible site you might want to check out. Info about Michael is available at his site.
“Thankfully, advocates of KJV Onlyism are not “hating” on us as frequently as they used to. I don't know if this is due to the movement dying out or due to its advocates becoming more civil (highly unlikely), but I am thankful that we do not have to deal with KJV Onlyism as much as we used to. I remember the first time I was exposed to KJV Onlyism. I thought it was utterly ridiculous. I did not know anything about the Textus Receptus, or Erasmus, or King James VI. All I knew was the idea that English speakers are required by God to use a Bible translation from 17th century England is ludicrous. As I am now much more familiar with the arguments, I am still absolutely convinced that KJV Onlyism is terribly misguided and horribly destructive to the Body of Christ.
“What is the true origin of KJV Onlyism? My informed speculation is that it is due to a resistance to change. In the 20th century, when English translations of the Bible other than the KJV started becoming popular, those who were used to the KJV did not want to change and relearn all the Bible verses they knew. But, they couldn't just admit, "I'm an old fuddy-duddy and don't want to change," so they began developing arguments for the KJV and against all the new translations. These arguments have been improved upon, and have gained traction, and have been passed on to new generations of English-speaking Christians.
“While they rarely admit it, [some] advocates of KJV Onlyism essentially believe that God re-inspired the Bible in AD 1611. Ultimately, they must go there because if they place their loyalty on the Textus Receptus (the Greek manuscript compilation used by the KJV translators), that would open the door to new translations being created. And, we can't have that, so, God must have perfectly superintended the KJV translators into creating a perfect representation of His Word in English. From their writings, it appears advocates of KJV Onlyism hate the NKJV, KJ21, and MKJV [King James updates] just as much as they hate the NIV, NASB, ESV, NLT, CSB, etc. No, for KJV Onlyism to be true, God had to have re-inspired the Bible through the KJV translators.
“Does that make any sense to you? It sure doesn't make any sense to me. Now, the more scholarly KJV Onlyites will make arguments for the superiority of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts behind the KJV. But, if you ask them if a new translation could be created from those manuscripts, watch out. I would advise body armor and earmuffs. Others will argue against the translation methodology of the new translations. But, with the more literal modern translations, like the NASB and ESV, the translation methodology is not dissimilar from what the KJV translators employed. Still others will attack the integrity, morals, and motivations of the modern translators. So, evidently, the group of 17th century British Anglicans behind the King James Version were sinless, had perfect theology, and had absolutely no ulterior motives.
“KJV Onlyism is a good example of Solomon's words in Ecclesiastes that there is ‘nothing new under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9). When Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, he was labeled a heretic by some for daring to ‘change’ the Bible. Centuries later, when Jerome's Latin Vulgate became nearly universally accepted in the Western church, many who dared to attempt updates were murdered. Then, when believers in Germany, England, and other countries began translating the Bible into their common languages, they were labeled heretics, and some were burned at the stake for their vulgarity. KJV Onlyism makes the exact same mistake. Instead of focusing their loyalties on the original Hebrew and Greek, they make their preferred translation of the Bible the only true Bible and persecute anyone with a different preference. There are movements similar to KJV Onlyism in other languages as well, although, thankfully, not with nearly the same followings.
“Don't be deceived by KJV Onlyism. God did not re-inspire the Bible in AD 1611. The King James Version is not the only Bible we can use. The new translations are not a part of a grand conspiracy to spread false doctrine. When the Bible was written, it was written in the common and current language of the people of that time. When the Bible is translated, it should be translated into the common and current language of the people. My first reaction to being exposed to KJV Onlyism was precisely correct. To force the English-speaking world to use an archaic and antiquated translation is ridiculous. The KJV Onlyites can bemoan all they want, but their concupiscence for disputation [look up those words!] is verily brutish.”
S. Michael Houdmann
How I wish I had written that article myself! Well done, Sir!
You don’t think our brother is speaking the truth about the hatred of non-KJV Bibles and their readers? He may have understated the case:
I will have to delete comments that do not edify, but only wish to argue and be right. Those who have a differing opinion about the KJV can easily find avenues to publish such. I am using this one now to say:
1. The KJV is the Word of God. But
2. The KJV is not the only translation by which I will be saved and sanctified and brought to Heaven.
3. Those who trash the Scriptures because they are in translations they are not used to, endanger themselves and many others.
4. I have never banned the KJV. But the KJV people ban other Bibles, even burn them.
5. God leads His people through various stages. Some are being led for a season to the KJV. Others are ready to move on. Do not judge God's leading in other lives.