Are You a KJVO?

Chris ThomasConfessional Textual View5 Comments

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):

  1. I Like the KJV the best!
  2. The Textual Argument
  3. Received Text Only
  4. The Inspired KJV Group
  5. The KJV as New Revelation

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.

5 Comments on “Are You a KJVO?”

  1. If you don’t allow for the use of any English translation but the KJV, you’re KJVO (King James Only) by definition. All Ruckmanites are KJVO, but not all KJVO believers are Ruckmanites. Some KJVO believers (Edward Hills, Joel Beeke for instance) have better reasons for using the KJV and aren’t a cult like Ruckmanism, but if they argue against using any other translation they still fit the definition off KJVO.

    1. By that line of reasoning, you should be ok allowing the feminist redefinition of rape to include all consensual sex as your argument implies that it is ok to include logically contradictory definitions under the term KJVO. If it is ok to do it for the term KJVO, which only properly applies to Ruckmanites, then it is perfectly acceptable to do the same to the term ‘rape’. If you dont allow that, then you are an hypocrite and logically inconsistent.

      1. KJVO = King James Version Only.

        Nothing in this phrase mentions double inspiration, nothing about the English correcting the Greek. No mention of Ruckman, Riplinger, or Gipp. Or am I missing this? It is not me who is redefining.

        If you don’t think Christians should use any translation but the KJV, that makes you KJVO! Your reasons are different from the extremists, and I believe you to be honest in your convictions, but it still makes no sense to say someone who wants Christians to use the KJV Only… isn’t KJV Only.

        You’re example doesn’t make sense! A better example would be for a born again Christian. A born again Christian is a Christian who is… born again! But a radical Pentecostal might say (for illustration), “even if a Christian is born again, if they don’t speak in tongues you can’t call them a born again Christian.” This is a non sequitur.

        Again, KJVO = King James Version Only. Who changed this to only mean a Ruckmanite? I think many who only want to use the KJV don’t like this term because people like Ruckman & Riplinger have made it so odious. They’re certainly “extreme KJVO” or “cultic KJVO” (likeWestboro Baptist is a cultic Baptist) but again, what does “KJVO” stand for? To put it another way, that’s like saying you can’t have Reformed, Landmark, and Free Will Baptists. Sure you can. They’re all for believers only Baptism, but their doctrines on salvation contradict.

        1. The origin of the term KJVO, according to Dr. Peter Ruckman, came from Bob Jones University as a term referring exclusively to Ruckmanites.

  2. If Dr. Ruckman said that, then that statement is wrong. It’s hardly the only thing Ruckman was wrong about, right?

    There are plenty of KJVO people who preceded Ruckman or had no connection to him. Getting a list from the relevant Wikipedia category is left as an exercise for the reader.

    I can’t imagine why the statement that “If you don’t allow for the use of any English translation but the KJV, you’re KJVO (King James Only) by definition” is even remotely controversial. It’s how every other KJVO person on the planet defines it.

    Even if Ruckman or BJU were once right about this (and they weren’t, if this statement was made), it’s irrelevant. Language changes over time and the term KJVO today means “someone who only accepts the KJV as the true Bible”. The briefest survey of KJVO literature, sites, and media would demonstrate this.

    I have never heard a single person on this planet (from any side of the debate) define KJVO as strictly a Ruckmanite until this page.

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