Are KJV Onlyers Christians?
Sounds like a stupid question, but in a very real way, it may not be far from the mark. When we talk about non-Christian cults, there are parameters that we draw to include or exclude a group from the bounds of orthodoxy. For many, those parameters may seem arbitrary and capricious, depending on what side of the boundary one might fall. For example, Mormons are insistent that they are Christian, by virtue of the fact that they believe in the Bible and Jesus Christ as savior. Likewise, for Jehovah’s Witnesses. The objection to such inclusion happens when we more precisely define Christianity in it’s historic terms. If we accept the testimony of the earliest of the post-apostolic writers, those who defined the Trinity and the canon for example, then we could say that Mormons and JW’s are indeed non-Christian. Although that would seem objectionable to both groups, it bears keeping in mind that the core issue as to why both aberrational groups are “non-Christian” is by a reason of their own design: Both groups contend that the “true” Christian church was all but extinct immediately after the apostles, and that they represent the “restoration” of the true apostolic church. In both cases, they insist that the scriptures were maliciously altered immediately after the apostles, and only they have the “true” scriptures. In both cases, they have unambiguously said that those outside their ranks will not participate in the Kingdom of God.
Now, what does this have to do with the King James Onlyers? If you haven’t got the parallel yet, there is remarkably correlation between these groups on these points. In the case of the KJV Onlyers, they insist that the scriptures were maliciously altered in Alexandria and other than preservation in a handful of aberrational groups (Albingeneses, Waldenesses) the true scriptures were gone from the earth. Many KJVOnlyers go so far to say that there was never a “Bible” before 1611! The loss of the Word of God resulted in the rise of the apostate church, and the darkness lasted until Erasmus produced his version of the Textus Receptus. Dr. Peter Ruckman, KJVO superstar, includes Irenaeus, Melito of Sardis and many of the orthodox Patristic fathers as “corrupters” of the Word of God. The Septuagint is considered a “myth”. In the KJVonly worldview, God damns followers of Christ on a regular basis because they read a translation other than the KJV. Receiving another translation is tantamount to receiving the “Mark of the Beast”!
The divorce of the KJV “bible believer” from the historic Christian church is spawning some novel and outlandish doctrines. Ruckman, for example, insists that Judas was not human, and that the serpent and Eve had sex and thus conceived Cain. Hmmm. Theologically, the KJVO movement is spinning out of control, lashing out at other conservative Bible Christians, espousing bizarre teachings, and hanging on the words of Ruckman and Riplinger as the new avatars of “truth”.
Are the KJVOnlyers Christian? Well, at the very least, they are a schismatic, aberrational group. To their credit, they are generally Trinitarian, although who knows if that is a given since they reject many of the early Trinitarian writers as evil “corrupters”. Only time will tell if the movement re-integrates with the rest of the Christian church, or if they continue on a tangent moving away from the loci of the historic Gospel (EWF)
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