An Analysis of Dr. D.A. Waite’s King James Only Seminar, Slides #5-16: “God’s Words Kept Intact”

imagesSection II – “God’s Words Kept Intact”: The Preservation Argument (Slides #5-#16)

Just observing this title, the word “intact” is again an indication of the underlying false premise: the written Word has to be “intact” (entire, exact) in order to be God’s Word. Anything that amounts to anything less than a 100% equivalent of the elusive original is considered counterfeit. Of course, this begs the proverbial, age-old question for the King James Only position: Where was the Word of God before 1611? If differences disqualify all but one version of being the true Word of God, and the King James is that one, what do we do with all the Bibles leading up to the King James of 1611? The Ruckmanite has no problem here, because he believes the English corrects the Greek, and even says the “mistakes in the King James are advanced revelation.” No matter how much he will deny this, the Ruckmanite’s position will always amount to double inspiration. But for men like D. A. Waite, a bigger problem exists. He has (understandably) distanced himself from the ideas of Peter Ruckman. Yet, Ruckman’s position will always be more consistent, because he can always cite English superiority and end the discussion. But Waite actually considers history and textual studies important to the conversation. It seems that he and other “moderate” King James Onlyists mold two positions into one: the Byzantine preferred position and King James Only position. I do not believe, however, there can be an agreement among the two. The Byzantine position, very similar to the Majority Text position, is one that favors the manuscripts that come from the Byzantine family. Though the earliest manuscripts of its kind are no earlier dated than the 4th century, proponents of this position believe this text type represents the original more accurately than eclectic texts which incorporate readings from Alexandrian manuscripts and other witnesses. The manuscripts of the Byzantine family represent the majority of extant Greek manuscripts available today and the majority of manuscripts from at least the 9th century on. Because of a strong belief in church authority and the power of consensus, many believe that these attributes argue for the priority of this text type. The underlying text of the King James New Testament, the Textus Receptus, is based solely on the Byzantine tradition. Though the vast majority of New Testament scholars lean toward the eclectic text position, the Byzantine type preferred position is a respected counterpart. John William Burgon, Zane Hodges, Arthur Farstad, and Wilbur Pickering were among scholars who espoused such a position, and their works continue to have influence on the ongoing debate. Although I believe the eclectic text position has been defended better than the Byzantine text position, I believe honest dialogue between the two can still go on. A main reason for this is that most of the proponents of the Byzantine text position do not make their position a standard of orthodoxy or test of separation. They believe, as do I, that no text or translation is perfect, and apply absolute inerrancy only to the autographs. They typically fellowship with modern version users and are not just loyal to the King James, as many of them support the use of the New King James Version – a version that, oddly enough, KJVOnlysits vehemently reject. The NKJV is also based on the Byzantine platform and  differs from the KJV, for the most part, in places in which the Textus Receptus departed from the majority of Byzantine manuscripts. I brought up that concise summary of the Byzantine position to make one thing clear: it is not the same as the KJVO position. But it must be understood because moderate King James Onlyists employ the same arguments of the Byzantine position, even quoting its proponents (especially Burgon), until they get to the year 1611. It seems all scholarship ended in 1611. The main problem with this is that the KJVOnlyist is forced to constantly change his goal.

First, we are told that versions that differ from the King James are not God’s Word. Yet, we are told that God promised to preserve His Word (intact) for His people. Knowing that no version ever completely agreed with the King James, we can only conclude that all the Bibles leading up to the King James are just as counterfeit as the modern versions. To disqualify the NIV, one must also disqualify the Geneva. To disqualify the NASB, one must also disqualify Tyndale. Yet, to say that, we must believe that God did not preserve His Word until 1611, and we find ourselves back to the Ruckmanite position. This is why Ruckmanism, as heretical and outlandish as it is, will always be more consistent than moderate King James Onlyism. The point here is to make it clear that using the arguments produced by Majority/Byzantine text supporters does not make a case for the King James Only position. Waite cannot hold both to this position and the “intact” position at the same time.

Verses on Preservation

When dealing with these verses, it must be remembered that none of them are proof-texts for the KJVO position. Oftentimes in this debate, people will just throw these verses at me as if they will make me say, “aha! The King James is the only true Word of God!” Hardly any, if any at all, of these verses can even be applied to the text of scripture. Here are some of the verses Waite provides and a brief commentary of each showing how they all fail to prove the KJVO perspective:

1. Psalm 12:6-7: Probably the most used and misunderstood passage dealing with this issue. It has been answered satisfactorily by various writers. Suffice it to say, the “them” being preserved in this passage deals with the people of the entire Psalm (it should be read in its entire context) and not the words. In fact, the word “them” in Hebrew is actually singular, and the marginal notes in the original 1611 KJV indicated that it is literally “him”. So the reading is “thou shalt keep him”. The translators put “them”, however, to correspond with people, though the word “him” can still do so, just as the singular word “man” can denote all mankind. Some modern versions, trying to avoid this confusion, translate it as “us”. In any event, the promise of preservation in this passage is not about God’s words. Although preservation is taught elsewhere, this is the main passage used for the availability argument – that all of God’s words will be available to His people down through the centuries – based upon the phrase, “from this generation for ever.” (The “for ever” is capitalized in Waite’s presentation to emphasis this misconception.)

2. Psalm 105:8: the other passage sometimes used for the availability argument because it says “to a thousand generations.” (Remember, no generation prior to the 1600’s had an exact, or intact, prototype of the King James). The problem here is the confusing of “word” for “words”. The singular “word” corresponds directly to the word “covenant”. This is dealing with God’s promise, and has nothing to do with the written scriptures.

3. Proverbs 22:20-21: Here we find an example of Dr. Dan Wallace’s theory of an underlying problem in King James Onlyism: the substitution of truth for certainty. Instead of searching for truth, which exists outside of ourselves, many have clung for certainty, a feeling that brings security. This is the heart of the inerrancy problem – an uncertainty in the text means we cannot be certain of the rest. But this verse simply means that we can be certain that God’s Word is true. Textual variants and transmission are not even in view.

4. Matthew 5:17-18: Jesus use of the words “jot” and “tittle” seem to give credibility to the KJVO argument. But if we are to woodenly interpret this statement, it can only be applied to the Old Testament (the Law); perhaps even just the Torah. It is more likely to believe Jesus was speaking hyperbolically, emphasizing His perfect fulfillment of the Law of God. If the KJVO view were right, the “passing” of the jot and tittle would mean textual variation. Yet, Jesus goes on to describe it as breaking one of the commandments. Therefore, the fulfilling of the Law and the endurance of its words has to do with its authority and truth, not with the written text.

5. Matthew 24:35: When Jesus says His words shall not pass away, is He referring to words that have made it into the text of scripture? Obviously, some of His words have passed away. We do not know what He said between the ages of 12 and thirty. We do not know all He said during the times of which John spoke of not recording. This passage cannot be applied to the text of scripture, but that Jesus Christ’s words, and in this passage prophecies in particular, will come to pass perfectly.

6. I Peter 1:23-25: This passage speaks of a recurring theme in scripture: the endurance of God’s Word. I do not reject this biblical teaching. I just do not see how this must be applied to the text of scripture in a way that demands all the words remaining intact. This passage contradicts the KJVO view, because it specifically says what the “word” is – the gospel! (Notice how the message is what counts, rather than verbatim reiteration) Waite then proceeds to prove that God keeps His promises. The reasoning now is: God promised to preserve His Word the same way He inspired it, and He never fails. Of course any Christian believes the second part. God always keeps His promises. But it is yet to be proven that God promised to preserve His Word solely in the King James Version.

To strengthen his argument, D.A. Waite quotes the London Baptist Confession of 1689. It is interesting how many times this and the Westminster Confession make their way into KJVO literature. No creed is as authoritative as the Bible. Most KJVOnlyists disagree with a lot in these creeds to begin with (both are very Calvinistic; most KJVOnlyists are not). Yet, the phrase “kept pure. . .by His singular care and providence”, referring to the scriptures, is used as a basis for the KJVO position. The problem is this phrase is man-made; it is not subject to exegesis or scrutiny for even the authors’ original intent could have been wrong. Secondly, it is late; that is, it may seem “historic” for being a few centuries old, but it is not a phrase found in the Bible or earlier church writings. Finally, what is meant by the phrase is not fully known. Does it allow for exceptions? Does it even address textual transmission, variation, or versions? The most likely scenario is that none of the writers of these creeds would agree with the King James Only position but were making a general statement about God’s Word. In any event, their opinion has little value in this debate.

Further down in his presentation (slide #14), Dr. Waite makes a statement that is extremely hurtful to his cause: “For over 1,500 years of BIBLE PRESERVATION, the Lord Jesus NEVER QUESTIONED the Hebrew Text of His day!”(emphasis undeniably Waite). It is hard to believe a man with the credentials of Dr. Waite would use such poor argumentation. First of all, the text of scripture used most widely in the setting of Jesus’ day was the Septuagint (which is why later on Waite dismisses its importance). The Hebrew text that did exist was not the Masoretic text underlying the KJV, for that did not come about until at least the seventh century. Secondly, Waite is among those who are doing the very thing he points out Christ did not do: question the text of his day. At the end of the day, who is causing more questions about the scriptures we have today? The answer is undeniably the King James Only crowd. My side of the fence may not agree with the King James Only position, but no one here would tell King James Version users that they don’t have a Bible. Yet, this is the exact thing that King James Onlyists are doing: telling every Christian who uses a Bible other than the KJV that they do not have God’s Word. Dr. Waite is right: Jesus did not do that. A great example (and the passage that basically won me away from the KJVO position) is found in Luke chapter 4. In this account, we find that our Lord regularly went to the temple to read from the scriptures. In the Luke 4 instance, He reads from Isaiah 61. When one compares Isaiah 61 in the KJV Old Testament to the quoted source in Luke 4 in the KJV, he quickly finds that, although they say basically the same thing, they contain differences. In fact, I could devise a chart that shows that Jesus Christ was a gnostic conspirator trying to undermine His own Deity because He removed the word “God” twice! He also, like Eve, inserted a phrase. The differences between Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 are just like the differences (actually greater) between the modern versions and the KJV. And Jesus refers to His selected passage as “scripture” without a doubt that it was authentic or a hint of warning that it may be corrupt. What was Jesus actually quoting? It was undoubtedly the Septuagint. A quick comparison of the passages in question will bring anyone to that conclusion. So, the Lord Jesus Christ regularly read from an ancient equivalent to a “modern” version, and, as Waite suggests, never questioned it! I truly believe if people caught in the KJVO position get this, they will reconsider their position. Why have a position about the scriptures that Christ did not have?


5 comments so far

  1. Kent Brandenburg on

    But if the Geneva was sufficient, why a KJV? And if the Geneva was superior, why a KJV?

    I don’t think Waite would at all say that God didn’t preserve His Word until 1611. Do you think that is a good thing to say to represent him?

    What is the difference between inerrancy and absolute inerrancy?

    Have you ever read “Thou Shalt Keep Them?”

  2. fundyreformed on

    Great post!

  3. Damien T Garofalo on

    I didn’t say the Geneva was superior or sufficient. Just that D.A. Waite’s view can’t hold to the test of history. He believes that the KJV of 1611 represent God’s Word “intact.” If the KJV 1611 is “intact”, and other Bibles which differ from it are not, then the logical end to that is no Bible which differs from this “intact” one can be considered a true Bible. That disqualifies every Bible leading up to the KJV, and therefore there would be no “intact” Bible before 1611.

    I don’t suggest Waite would agree with that. Did I say that? I’m giving an argument. My argument against his. I don’t see how that’s “representing” him.

    No, I’ve not read that book.

  4. Damien T Garofalo on

    Inerrancy is the teaching that the scriptures, as inspired by God, are without error.

    I used the term absolute inerrancy to denote the idea that the copies are word-for-word inerrant like the originals.

  5. ModernBibleReader on

    What’s remarkable is the way Waite paints himself into a corner with the Septuagint. The Bible has two different textual streams in the NT, from the Hebrew and Septuagint. I may be wrong, but even Jesus Christ quotes the Septuagint at points. Waite claims Christ could make the text say anything he wanted to (I have heard this numerous times in his presentations, especially in response to questions). But Waite also says the Septuagint did not exist. He has to, in order to be consistent with everything else he says about Alexandrian texts, i.e. the LXX was assembled by heretics in Alexandria. This means that the Bible has quotations from a text that doesn’t exist, so Waite says parts of it existed… one time (I wish I could remember which audio) one of his own supporters in the audience actually asked him, in total naivete, not realizing what he was asking, and Waite rambled for a few minutes and went on to something else.

    The problem is that the NT itself uses two textual streams, which pokes a hole in the good v bad text theory, since both OT streams are independent.

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