The King James Only Debate (part 2)

(Read part 1). Part 2 will cover chapter 14, “The Septuagint Fallacy.” This is the title in the table of contents. As I pointed out in part 1, only three chapters have the same title as that listed in the table of contents. The title of chapter 14 is “The Real History of the Septuagint LXX: Do You Really Know What the LXX Septuagint Is?” Most recognized scholars believe that the Septuagint or LXX is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that was quoted by Christ and the Apostles. The evidence for this is scant. There are some Greek fragments of the Pentateuch that have been dated, supposedly, to the first and second centuries B.C. And there are also some Greek fragments of the Minor Prophets that have been dated, supposedly, to the first century B.C. Relatively complete manuscripts of the LXX are Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus. Incomplete manuscripts of the LXX are Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus and Codex Sinaiticus.

Hollner’s overall thesis of this chapter that the LXX is a fraud is sound. However, much of what is found in the chapter is not. The word “Apocrypha” is only capitalized once. Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus is not mentioned. Wikipedia is cited as a source.The Apocrypha is referred to as “it” and “them” in the same sentence, and is elsewhere called a “reading.” The Apocrypha was not “later removed in all KJV reprints.” That some modern scholars accept the Apocrypha as Scripture does not make it true that it “is nowhere accepted as Scripture except by modern scholarship and the Roman Catholic Church.” And these are just the errors in the first paragraph on page 418.

The errors in the rest of the chapter are legion. Words are capitalized that should not be, and words that should be capitalized are not. Book titles are not put in italics. Words are unnecessarily put in italics. Parentheses are not used where they should be. En dashes are used for Em dashes. Apostrophes are used incorrectly. The quote by the unidentified Scott Jones on page 425 has no close quote mark so there is no way to determine where it ends. Hollner misinterprets his quote from Josephus (p. 433).

The term “Masoretes” and “Masoretic Text” should never be applied to anything before the time of Christ. No one claims that “the 7th-10th century Masoretes somehow created a new ‘Masoretic’ text” (p. 419). The first Hebrew Bible (OT) to be printed was in 1488 at Soncino, Italy, not in 1477. It is an overstatement to say that “there is more evidence for a ‘Tooth Fairy’ than there is for a B.C. Greek Septuagint” (p. 420). Hollner assumes his readers will know that “Brenton” is a reference to the edition of the LXX by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton. This is called both “Vaticanus/Sinaiticus” and “Vaticanus” (p. 424). Gerhard Kittel (1888-1948), the German Lutheran theologian and lexicographer at the University of Tübingen and editor of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament did not produce “a corrupted Hebrew text” (p. 421). It was his father, Rudolf Kittel (1853-1929), an Old Testament scholar and professor at Breslau and Leipzig, who edited a critical edition of the the Hebrew Bible titled Biblia Hebraica. Hollner says that the Biblia Hebraica 1937 edition had 30,000 changes from “the true Masoretic text,” but then goes on to say that its footnotes “suggest from 20,000 to 30,000 changes throughout the whole Old Testament” (p. 421). The Leningrad Codex is not “corrupt,” and is an edition of the Masoretic Text (p. 421). Although Hollner claims that “many words are missing” (p. 421), he doesn’t give any examples. The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Hollner’s “Stuttgart edition” of 1966-1967) was issued in fascicles from 1968 to 1976, and published in one volume in 1977. Stay tuned for the third installment.

The King James Only Debate (part 1)

As I have said from the beginning of The Preacher’s Library, this is not a book review blog. I have written scores of book reviews, and hope to eventually have them all posted at The Preacher’s Library here. Some of them can be found at my Vance Publications website. I am currently reading a review copy of The King James Only Debate: Can You Trust the Modern Scholars? that the author, Michael Hollner, kindly sent me upon my request. Because of the subject matter, and because of my expertise in the area, I think it would be a good idea to review this book at The Preacher’s Library. But because I am reading so many other things right now, I have decided to publish my review in parts instead of waiting until I finish the book, since I have no idea when that will be.

In this first installment, I want to describe the book and give my overall first impressions. I appreciate those who write in defense of the Authorized Version, and especially those, like Michael Hollner, who are not Independent Baptists. However, I don’t always appreciate everything they write. I’m afraid that such is the case with The King James Only Debate. The title of the book is based on that of two other books: The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? (1995; updated and expanded, 2009), by James R. White; and The Scholarship Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Professional Liars? (1996), by Peter S. Ruckman. Throughout the book, Hollner denigrates Dr. White and praises Dr. Ruckman (but he calls him “Pete” on p. 26).

The King James Only Debate is the most poorly put together book I have ever seen. There is no title page. When you open the book, the title of the book (without the subtitle) appears at the top of the first page followed by a 2×5 inch image of a crown over the text “The King James Version 400th Anniversary” (even though the anniversary was in 2011) over an open Bible followed by what seems like a preface on pages 1-11. But it is not actually a preface because the book’s preface actually runs from pages 13 to 28 (but it is referred to as an “introduction” on p. 22). On page 12 appears the copyright information that would normally be on the verso of the title page. The copyright date is 2018, but there are several places in the book which say that the book includes updates made in October of 2020. However, on page 438, “the 2021 update” is mentioned; on page 439, the value of money in 2019 dollars is given; on pages 440 and 451, the year 2021 is mentioned; and on page 441, the year 2018 is mentioned. The table of contents doesn’t show up until page 29. Not only is there no title page, there are also no footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, index, or page headers. This means that you never know which chapter you are in. At least there are page numbers at the bottom of each page. The most annoying thing about the book is that there is barely a quarter of an inch of space at the top of the pages above the first line of text. There are numerous typos in the book as well as formatting issues like the excessive use of words in all caps and the use of both straight and curly quotation marks, even on the same page. Although the book contains 451 pages, instead of the paragraphs being indented, there is a line space after each paragraph. This makes the book appear larger than it is. Many of the quotes in the book are not documented, or are taken from secondary sources.

The King James Only Debate contains sixteen chapters: 1. The King James Advantage. 2. Missing Verses and Words. 3. Attacks on Doctrine. 4. Answering the Critics. 5. Inspiration/Preservation. 6. The “Originals Only” Heresy. 7. New Versions & Prophecy. 8. New Versions & Poetry. 9. Words/Evidences/Questions. 10. The Two Big Lies. 11. The Manuscript Vault. 12. Foreign Translations. 13. The Dog and Pony Shows. 14. The Septuagint Fallacy. 15. Oxford/Cambridge Fallacy. 16. A Fair Warning. However, only three of these chapters (1, 3, 4) actually have the same title as that listed in the table of contents.

The publisher of the book is the author and his ministry, Write the Vision Ministry, in Winter Springs, Florida. The author claims to be “an independent thinker and not a follower of any man or of any denomination” (p. 6). He is “not a Baptist, church of God, Assembly of God, or of any other denomination” (p. 6). He is “not a follower of Ruckman, Gipp, Riddle, Waite, Riplinger, or of any organization” (p. 6). He calls himself “a non-denominational Christian” who has “come out of several Pentecostal denominations” (p. 6). He wrongly states that the “KJV debate” “all started with Gail Riplinger’s book in 1993 entitled the ‘New Age Bible Versions'” (p. 25). His incorrect use of the word “entitled” instead of “titled” and his putting a book title in quotes instead of italics are just two examples of just how sloppy this book is. Hollner admits that he is “not a professional writer” (p. 9). However, he thinks very highly of his book: “This book is unique due to modern technology, and in showing photographic evidence of the ancient manuscripts” (p. 25). “The photo evidence gives our book the unique advantage above all others, for as of today in October 2020 (and the original print in 2018), we have not found a more researched and exhaustive product on the market in showing so many ancient manuscripts” (p. 28). The author hopes that his book “will also receive proper reviews from honest hearted Bible believers” (p. 26). This is my intention. Stay tuned for the second installment.

The History and Heritage of Fundamentalism and Fundamental Baptists

If you are looking for a book by an Independent Fundamental Baptist that “contains an extensive history of Fundamentalism in general and of fundamental Baptists in particular,” I recommend The History and Heritage of Fundamentalism and Fundamental Baptists (Way of Life, 2020), by David W. Cloud. The main sections of the book are 1. Interdenominational Fundamentalism, 2. Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, 3. Northern Fundamental Baptists, 4. Southern Fundamental Baptists, 5. Where Are Fundamental Baptists Today?, 6. New Testament Churches in the Last Days. The book is not on Amazon, but can be ordered from Way of Life Literature,

As a City on a Hill

We have all heard America described as a city on a hill. The phrase comes from John Winthrop’s (1588-1649) “A Model of Christian Charity.” It is based on Matthew 5:14: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” If you have the time to do any reading in early American religious history, As a City on a Hill: The Story of America’s Most Famous Lay Sermon (Princeton, 2018) is a good supplement to whatever text you are reading.

Speaking of Darby

Darby was one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren movement.Two of the most notable brethren are F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) and Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951). I have two books in my library on the Plymouth Brethren: My People: The History of Those Christians Sometimes Called Plymouth Brethren (Harold Shaw, 1995), by Robert H. Baylis, and The Plymouth Brethren (Oxford, 2018), by Massimo Introvigne. The former book contains 336 pages, including over 100 illustrations and photographs. The latter book is much smaller (141 pgs.), but is the latest research on the subject.






I am embarrassed to say that I have not read and do not own H. A. Ironside’s A Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement: An Account of its Inception, Progress, Principles and Failures and its Lessons for Present Day Believers (Zondervan, 1942). I would read it before the two other books.

The Backgrounds of Darby and Dispensationalism

I have many unusual and relatively unknown books in my library that are extremely valuable. Two examples are: Discovering the End of Time: Irish Evangelicals in the Age of Daniel O’Connell (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), and Exporting the Rapture: John Nelson Darby and the Victorian Conquest of North-American Evangelicalism (Oxford, 2018), both by Donald Harman Akenson. We all know, or we should know, about John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), and how he popularized dispensationalism years before the Scofield Reference Bible (not invented it as many of the Reformed falsely assert). Although there is much in these books about Darby and his teachings and writings, they primarily explore the religious and cultural environment in which Darby lived in Ireland. These books are absolutely essential for understanding the life and times of John Nelson Darby.