"The King James Only Controversy by its very nature, brings disruption and contention right into the local Christian church pews." - James White
By far there are two resources available today that cover this issue that are greater than every other. I will discuss the other at another time but for today Dr. James White's The King James Controversy is in view here. This book does an excellent job of outlining the issue at hand and presenting a strong case against the exclusive use of the King James Version.
Dr. White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries out of Phoenix, Arizona and is an excellent author, apologist, and public debater. He has debated in many countries and against many different people from various backgrounds including Mormonism, Catholicism, Islam, Atheists and more. I have been reading and following his work for a few years now and I highly recommend him to anyone wanting to deepen their knowledge of God's Word.
Here is a link to where you can purchase a copy of the book I am discussing today: The King James Only Controversy
Today, from his book I want to share some information he provides at the beginning of the book concerning the different groups/camps that fall under the banner of King James Onlyism. White includes 5 groups total but I combined 2 and have 4 groups total. Even though I have changed the total number of groups the thoughts and work behind it is still his so I include citation for it all.
Group #1 - I Like the KJV Best
This group of individuals would believe that the KJV is the best single English translation available today. This view might be based upon the rhythmic beauty of the work as a whole, or upon its historical importance, or any number of other factors. This group would not deny the possibility of a better translation, they are just sure there has not been one. They are not militant in their perspective (White 23-24).
Group #2 - The Textual Argument
Belief that the underlying Hebrew and Greek texts used by KJV are superior to all others. Would not necessarily believe that the texts were inspired but that they are the most accurate. However, there are portions of this group that believe that either the Majority Text, or the Textus Receptus is in fact inspired and that all other texts are somehow corrupt or should not be used for various reasons (White 24-25).
Group #3 - The Inspired KJV Group
Most KJV only would fall into this group. They believe that the KJV itself, as an English translation is inspired and therefore inerrant. Importance placed on underlying text like the TR begins to fade next to the KJV.
The King James Version Alone = The Word of God Alone
KJV Only books are filled with English comparisons between KJV and modern translations. Any difference is considered a "change" an "omission" or a "deletion." KJV is always the standard. The KJV was neither the 1st or the last English translation. In this group's view every other translation is a corruption. Any "changes" made are seen as an attempt to tamper with God's Word and deny Christian truth (White 26-27)
Group #4 - KJV as New Revelation
This is the most radical position. They do not rely on Greek and Hebrew texts, or other things. They truly believe that God supernaturally inspired the KJV in such a way that the English text itself is inerrant revelation.
According to this group God "re-inspired" the Bible in 1611. Believe Greek and Hebrew should be changed to fit KJV. Group is often militant and vocal in their opposition to the "perverted Bibles" used by Christians today. It is next to impossible to reason with this group.
The belief in, and one might well say worship of, the KJV becomes the central aspect of their religious faith (White 27-28)
As you can see there is some similarities and differences among the groups. The only two groups I would personally take issue with would be groups 3 & 4. I would include group 2 if they think that the underlying texts are inspired over against the original manuscript as some do, especially when they claim that all other texts and textual families are therefore corrupt because they are not what was used to translate the KJV.
One must keep in mind that when someone like me writes a post like this I am not stating that I am anti-KJV. I am as far from that as you can be. In fact, I support and encourage and rejoice with anyone who chooses to make that their translation of choice. However, like Dr. White I am completely in the strongest terms against the assertion that we should exclusively use the KJV, especially in light of how it is manifested in the groups that see the KJV Bible Alone as the Word of God Alone as Dr. White writes about.
I want to personally thank Dr. White for his excellent work in writing and making this book available. It is a cherished addition to my personal library.
White, James R. The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bethany House Publishers. 1995, 2009.