This will take us way back to the infancy of my website and ministry. One of the first blog posts I had done back in 2016 when I got started in the website and blogging world was related to the different "KJV Only Groups" and how they differ in their viewpoints and the way in which they operate.
The information for that blog post came from my reading of Dr. James White's book on the subject of KJV Onlyism and was very influential in helping me to be freed from the radical mindset of Onlyism. You can purchase Dr. White's book on KJV Onlyism by visiting the following link:
The King James Only Controversy
You can read my blog post from July of 2016 by visiting the following link:
KJV Only Groups
The content of the post is still very much alive and true today. The essence of the anti-Onlyism position has always been consistent. We are not against the KJV. In fact, there are many people I have encountered, especially on social media, that are anti-Onlyism but have the KJV as their preferred choice of translation. Further, some of these same people would only use the KJV for reading and studying.
The key difference is, unlike the cultic Onlyist, they do not demand the exclusive use of the KJV from everyone else.
I, for instance, choose to basically use the NASB only. I will utilize various other translations for comparisons but for my personal study and preaching I use the NASB. The difference between me and the radical KJV Onlyist is I would never tell any Christian that they MUST use the NASB and use it alone, and I certainly would never hold up the exclusive use of the NASB as a test of fellowship within a church or family.
Sadly, this is the environment we find ourselves in today. It is always still a shock to me when I encounter someone who has never encountered KJV Onlyism of any kind. They usually almost to their dying breath it seems would attempt to claim that I am "making it up," because as they say, "who in their right mind would engage in something so irrational and absurd?"
O, how I wish it was "made up." I wish it were but it just isn't so. I see them almost every day. They love to show up on the NIV Facebook page and attack fellow Christians who use the NIV. This is because of all the translations, the NIV is most hated by the radical Onlyist.
One thing you will see in the blog post I have linked to is that not every KJV Only group is radical. The only ones I would label "radical" or "cultic" are the ones that propose the exclusive use of the KJV and this takes a few variant forms.
Some believe that it is a perfect translation and God preserved His word in this translation, even though there is no objective way of showing this. The way God preserved His word is in the manuscript evidence that we have today that we can compare and contrast and determine to the best of our ability and by the Holy Spirit's guiding what the original reading was and then translate that into various languages. From there, as many have said, including Dr. Wallace, and I'm paraphrasing to a degree, "In so far as a translation accurately translates the text and is faithful to the original, then you can say with confidence that you possess the Word of God."
There is also a radical wing of Onlyism that believes that the KJV was an actual re-inspiration of God's Word altogether. These tend to be the most radical in their approach to other Christians who don't exclusively use the KJV.
Someone who simply prefers or loves the KJV over all other translations and wants to personally use it exclusively but would never attempt to force anyone else to exclusively use it, I and those who take my position have zero issue with. In fact, seeing as how the KJV is one of the best translations ever produced, I highly encourage using it. I also have zero issue with any church that wants to use it as "pew Bibles" or if the Pastor wants to preach from it exclusively for his own personal reasons, as long as nobody is told that they must exclusively use it.
The biggest issue you encounter is those that are in the radical wings of KJV Onlyism never settle for just using it exclusively themselves. They feel it is God ordained for them to make it a test of fellowship for church and family, up to and including shunning anyone who doesn't use the KJV exclusively and God help you if you dare to use an NIV.
The problem is and this is where I really feel for the Onlyist that is brainwashed into the radical versions of Onlyism, but the problem is that when you are in that type of cult-think it is nearly almost impossible to get out of it. In fact, and this was true in my case, it takes a miracle of God in the mind to awaken you out of what is a brainwashed slumber of the mind.
One is never equipped to study anything relating to the Bible and how we got it on your own. No, you are trained and molded to understand only one thing and that is Onlyism. You memorize the talking points of Onlyism better than you memorize Scripture itself, let alone apply it. You are taught that anyone who doesn't use the KJV exclusively is not a "real Christian," and their church is "not a real church." Now, when you get to this point you are usually bringing in Independent Fundamentalism alongside the KJV Onlyism, which for the most part the two go together. However, you can't say this is true in all cases because there are other denominations and groups that engage in KJV Onlyism that are not IFB churches. However, the point remains that you basically are turned into a mind numb robot that can spit out 50 consecutive Onlyist talking points but can't have any real discussions on textual transmission, textual criticism, translation philosophies, or even proper exegesis.
I have spent my entire ministry studying and preaching conservative doctrine and principles while standing against liberalism and progressivism. However, in the KJV Onlyist's mind, there is no worse liberal than the one who does not exclusively use the KJV. I know this because I have been called a liberal by them. The problem is and they don't see it, is that conservatism and liberalism are not confined to what translation you use. No, it is about things that are of far greater importance like being able to defend the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Authority of Scripture, and Justification by Faith. All of those things I would be limited in my ability to defend if I were forced to use nothing but the KJV in the world in which we live.
I wish I could say there would be a day when we would no longer have to deal with Onlyism but I doubt it. There has always been Onlyism of some kind. There was Latin Vulgate Onlyism, there have been those who have thought we should only use the Greek Septuagint, and the list goes on. It is always interesting to me and a little amusing when you encounter the Onlyist that things they are the first ones to ever think of such a thing.
The arguments for Onlyism are all subjective and put man at the center of the authority and not God's Word which is interesting and a little ironic considering that the Onlyist demands the exclusive use of one particular translation of God's Word and claims to defend it better than those "evil modern version users."
No matter how hard we try to reach out to them, we will always be accused of attacking God's Word or attacking someone's church, or attacking someone personally for being against KJV Onlyism. It is very rare to find someone who is intellectually honest enough to admit that we are not attacking the Bible or a church but the Onlyism itself.
My plea for everyone is to be so in love with God's Word that you would spend time studying it every day, utilizing every resource available to you up to and including doing some study in the original languages. We have more resources available to us today than we ever have before and yet Onlyism persists.
If you are an Onlyist reading this you may have wanted to branch out and increase your understanding of God's Word but maybe you are in a situation where you fear the consequences from church, family, or friends if you step outside of Onlyism. It will take courage and it will take a determination on your part but it is worth it. My understanding and appreciation and love and belief in the inerrancy of Scripture have grown by leaps and bounds since I was freed from Onlyism. This is largely in part due to the fact that now I can accurately defend the Bible and explain why translations are different without having to result to the old conspiracy theory minded talking points.
God's Word is inerrant in the truth it contains. We can trust it. The manuscript evidence is overwhelming and trustworthy. There are no perfect translations but there are some very good, accurate ones that faithfully translate the Word of God into English and other languages. One of them is the KJV but there is also the NKJV, the ESV, NASB, NIV, and others.
Is there a glutton of translations? Sure, and it is about money. Every publisher wants their own study Bible and instead of paying royalty fees to another place it is easier to just copyright your own translation. This, however, is not an argument for the radical nature of KJV Onlyism and is not an objective argument against modern translations. It certainly doesn't justify the way in which Onlyists treat their fellow Christians who are not Onlyists.
I have seen in my lifetime good pastors and preachers rejected by churches and what was their crime? They didn't exclusively use the KJV. There are churches that I will simply never be invited to preach at because I don't exclusively use the KJV. There are churches that will shun and cut off their own family over KJV Onlyism and to a large degree IFB doctrine depending on the situation. I personally have told people when I was younger that I thought they were in danger of going to hell because they used the NIV and you can only be saved by the KJV. That should tell you how deep I was into cultic Onlyism and while I could point to the constant brainwashing or blame it on something else, I had to look inward and change my own heart and now I mourn over how I used to be and how I treated fellow brethren as a result of my radical, cult-like mentality towards Scripture and the KJV.
If you struggle in this area, reach out to me or someone and let the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth as you seek to study Scripture and understand how we got our Bible, and also what goes into translations and why the exclusive use of any translation is in gross error.