For the last several years, I have considered One Bible Only? Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible to be the best book on the King James Only debate, period. Kevin Bauder and Roy Beacham, the editors, are fundamentalists. All the authors were professors at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, a fundamentalist institution. They understand the issue from the inside out. Their circles have been most affected by KJV Onlyism and so their book is extremely helpful.
Perhaps the best chapter in the book, is Kevin Bauder’s conclusion: “An Appeal to Scripture”. It is full of so many excellent quotes that I plan to share bits and pieces from the chapter over a series of posts. Of course, you need to get the book to get the full effect, but I hope this whets your appetite for the real thing.
Bauder sets the stage for his discussion of KJV-Onlyists’ appeal to scripture by presenting the quandry that King James onlyists face.
If the preservation of the Word of God depends upon the exact preservation of the words of the original documents, then the situation is dire. No two manuscripts… [no] two editions of the Masoretic Text… [no] two editions of the Textus Receptus… [no] two modifications of the King James Version contain exactly the same words, and the Bible nowhere tells us which edition, if any, does contain the exact words of the originals. These are not speculations; these are plain facts.
Confronted with these facts, King James-Only advocates are faced with one of two choices. Either they may specify, a priori and without biblical evidence, a single manuscript or edition of the Bible in which the exact words are preserved, or they may begin to qualify their insistence upon exact preservation….
If they are pressed, they will admit that they do not have all the words and only the words of the original in a single place. Instead, they will point out how similar most of the manuscripts are…. most King James-Only advocates are eventually willing to admit the possibility of an acceptable range of variation.
These King James-Only proponents, therefore, wish to have it both ways. They insist upon condemning the Ben-Asher Hebrew text, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, the contemporary eclectic Greek texts, and the New American Standard Bible because they only contain some (not all) of the words of God. But they are willing to accept differences in the various editions of the Ben-Chayyim Hebrew text, of the Textus Receptus in Greek, and of the King James Version in English, even though no more than one edition of one of these documents can conceivably contain all of the words and only the words of God….
In other words, if the King James-Only advocates were candid, most of them would have to admit to holding precisely the same theory of those whom they oppose. They would have to admit that the whole debate is merely an academic quibble over the percentage of acceptable variation. …they would have to admit that their preference was based on a difference of degree and not a difference of kind.
Of course, such an admission would be fatal to the King James-Only movement. If its leaders were so candid, people would recognize that the whole debate amounts to a cyclone in a coffee cup…. The movement survives, but only by clouding the issues and distracting people from the main point. It protects itself with an elaborate structure of theological illusions.
(Bolded emphasis mine. Excerpted from pg. 155-158, One Bible Only? Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible, edited by Roy Beacham and Kevin Bauder; Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, 2001.)