From time to time as one who holds to the Confessional (Biblical) Textual View you will be asked, Are You a KJVO? The very asking of this question when we are arguing not about a translation, but about which Greek & Hebrew texts the Scripture itself identifies as authentic shows a problem in the way the subject is approached. The first thing that should be done is to properly define the term.
What is a KJVO?
A KJVO, King James Version Onlyist, is one who promotes the English translation above the authentic Greek & Hebrew texts. These people are sometimes called “Ruckmanites”. What is a Ruckmanite?
A Ruckmanite is one that believes the King James Version of the Bible, the “Authorized Version” (“KJV” or “A.V.”), provides “advanced revelation” beyond that discernible in the underlying Textus Receptus Greek text. He believed the KJV represents the final authority for modern disputes about the content and meaning of the original manuscripts. -wikipedia, (Peter Ruckman, The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence (Pensacola: Pensacola Bible Press, 1990), 126, 138.)
As you can see, one who holds to the Confessional Textual View cannot truthfully be called a KJVO. So where did the idea arise that this term could truthfully be applied to people who do not hold to such a view of the Authorized Version?
Confusing the Issue
In 1995 James R. White published a book entitled, The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? Within this book he claimed that KJVOs were comprised of 5 groups. They are the follow (pg. 23-27):
- I Like the KJV the best!
- The Textual Argument
- Received Text Only
- The Inspired KJV Group
- The KJV as New Revelation
Now according to Mr. White, essentially anyone who uses the KJV is a KJVO. However, out of all these groups, only Group 5 is truly comprised of KJVOs. Group 4 is mislabelled. People in this Group 4, such as David Cloud and D. A. Waite do not believe that the KJV is inspired in the same sense as the authentic Greek & Hebrew texts. They hold to mediate inspiration as do the people in Group 3. Group 4 members argue from the KJV because it is easier for the average person to follow their arguments. Group 3 is not comprised of KJVOs unless one wishes to call the Reformers, the members of the Trinitarian Bible Society, Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Dr. Joel Beeke, Dr. Jeffrey Riddle, etc. KJVOs. Group 2 are not KJVOs; they are Majority Text Advocates. Group 1 are not KJVOs and consists of people who have probably never studied the subject but use the KJV because they grew up on it. So then why lump people with wildly disparate views under the same term, a term which includes heretics?
An Acceptable False Witness
Since Group 5 are the only people who can be properly labelled KJVOs, to label members of the other groups with the same term is to imply that all groups are essentially heretics and that their arguments can be discounted. Lumping members of Groups 1 – 4 under the same term as Group 5 is known as the ad hominem fallacy* and the loaded question fallacy** It is easier to mislabel people you disagree with, thereby putting them on the defensive, instead of actually dealing with their arguments. When one asks if those of us who hold to the CTV are KJVOs they are implying that we have said something similar to a Ruckmanite. In asking the question they are lying about our claims. It is similar to asking, have you stopped beating your wife? But because Mr. White has popularized this tactic through his book, website, and videos, the average Christian no longer considers it a sin to bear false witness against his fellow Christians who hold to the Confessional Textual View. A view which was held by the Reformers, because the CTV, unlike the Critical Text Position, is found in Scripture.
To learn what those of us who hold to the CTV actually believe, read the following post: Providentially Preserved?
*ad hominem fallacy – You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.
**loaded question fallacy – You asked a question that had a presumption built into it so that it couldn’t be answered without appearing guilty. Loaded question fallacies are particularly effective at derailing rational debates because of their inflammatory nature – the recipient of the loaded question is compelled to defend themselves and may appear flustered or on the back foot.