Monday, December 6, 2010

Divorce due to Irreconcilable Differences...

One of the first things to discover in the great debate over the King James Bible (KJB) versus "Modern Versions", is the complete difference in opinion as to what the debate is about.

For our purposes here, which is to simply delineate the controversy, we will unfortunately lump all the KJV-friendlies into one camp, and the anti-KJV-people into the other. This is of course unrealistic, and will draw immediate fire from all sides. Be that as it may, it will still help our cause to draw the first and deepest line here, between these two diverse clumps of strangers.

We may state at the outset that most of this controversy is taking place in English, among those who either only speak English, or whose first language is irrelevant, and who engage in this debate in English, for the most part in the West, and/or Europe.

Now to see why we have branded this article with the epitaph "Irreconcilable differences":

On the one hand, the KJV side is primarily concerned with the New Testament; Not to say that they are happy with serious changes in the O.T. either, but from their perspective, the New Testament alterations have been the most numerous and the most serious, for twofold reasons:

(1) The New Testament is generally perceived to be the more important half of the Bible, at least for Christians.
(2) The New Testament has suffered the most drastic mutilation at the hands of the opposing side.
(3) Yet, there are also some serious breaches in traditional interpretation and hence translation of some key O.T. passages as well. These have mostly to do with prophecies of Jesus Christ, and doctrines such as the virgin birth, hell and the afterlife, Satan, and other various matters.

On the other hand, the "moderns" see things differently, at least their public declarations are meant to divert the discussion away from these issues and onto others. They will assert (contra KJV supporters) that:

(1) No changes significantly affect any fundamental or essential Christian doctrines.

(2) The KJV creates severe comprehension problems due to out of date language.

(3) Most changes to the O.T. prophecies and doctrinal differences arise from more accurate translation of the Hebrew and Greek, and better understanding of the original context.

From these two basic positions, it should be obvious that although both sides contain much truth, there is no easy way to reconcile the two viewpoints into a new harmonized and united view, which is more accurate than either alone, and acceptable to both parties.

In fact, one will tend to express the same sentiment as the disciples did, when confronted with Jesus' teaching on wealth. "How then can this be overcome?"

Hopefully, Jesus' answer 2,000 years ago is also true today:

"What is impossible for man is possible with God."



  1. The only problem with reconciliation between warring factions is the price.

    The real issue is can the parties on each side come together without sacrificing the truth or the New Testament text?

    Its the same as the parallel problem in Ecumenicalism. Do we really want it, if we have to compromise our conscience and our religious beliefs?


  2. The issue at hand is that both "sides" (if we can deem them as such) argue past one another more often than they meet in a genuine intellectual discussion.

    There is a static perceived but not understood complementary schismogenesis. More often than not, neither group is willing to explore the others' position except to critique it.

    It fascinates me, as a student of language, to see how people discuss an issue like this. It is clear to me that people do not read/hear as their antagonists write/speak. The schismogenesis perpetuates because of the disconnect.

  3. I think Erik is right about this 'dyslexia' or lack of ability to consider the opponent's position.

    When decisions are difficult, there is almost always conflicting evidence, or the appearance of it, regardless of viewpoint.

    The danger of losing certainty in one's position must be balanced against the need to double-check facts and allow for doubt regarding historical assertions.

    mr.scrivener is right to be cautious of 'anything goes' attitudes, but the door has to stay open to new evidence and arguments, no matter how sure one is about a position.


  4. "The issue at hand is that both "sides" argue past one another more often than they meet in a genuine intellectual discussion." --Erik

    Exactly. Primarily, both sides are preaching to their respective choirs. Rarely is any attempt made by either side to gently persuade those from the other side, but rather to berate them for their stupidity in stubbornly clinging to such ideas in defiance of the facts.