March 25, 2006

An honest KJV-onlyist, for a change

"Jesus is the Bible!"

This is not a phrase I would utter on my own initiative. I have seen it quoted, secondhand, in KJV-onlyism-related discussions, and I have quoted it myself, hoping to elicit comments from KJV-onlyists. What I have found surprising is that while very few KJV-onlyists will actually affirm the sentiment, they don't precisely want to repudiate it, either. (Probably it would hurt their street cred with other KJVers, who are notorious for dogpiling anyone who doesn't toe the party line.)

Then I encountered Steven L. Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church of Phoenix. He came on to the BaptistBoard about two weeks ago, and began posting links to his essays along with some leading comments and limited interaction - in short, spamming. (If you have a stomach for flummery, you can go to his site and read how all birth control, even mechanical contraception, is sinful; homosexuals are beyond salvation; how all music, including "pop, rap, country, rock, jazz, classical, and easy listening" is wicked because it is "of the world" and "doesn't sound distinctly like Christian music in its style" [though Anderson doesn't expend any effort to describe a "distinctly Christian music style"]; how male OB/GYNs are perverts who just want to touch women's private parts; and how repentance means merely changing one's mind, so repentance from sin is not a part of salvation.)

Anyway, an attempt in one thread to engage Anderson on his views on the King James Bible finally elicited this response:

The discussion was meant to be with those who believe the Bible, not with confused people whose authority is several different Bibles and texts. You are your own authority - you may as well be God since you decide what the truth is after looking at all your assortments of translations and texts.

I have one God - the King James Bible - not 10 different Gods who all say things a little differently.

Anyone who uses multiple Bibles (e.g. a KJV and an NIV) is polytheistic because they believe in more than one God (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God!)

[Emphasis added; Full Post; from this thread]

There is one word for this view: idolatry. Unadulterated, rank idolatry. I would like to be able to give Anderson the benefit of the doubt; perhaps he mis-spoke. But in the above paragraphs, he identifies the Bible as "God" no less than three times: the KJV as the true God, and other Bible versions as false gods. That is no accident.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is spirit. He is not represented by a block of wood. This is true whether the block of wood is carved into a pretty little statue, or whether it is cooked, pulverized, sliced very thin, printed upon, and bound into a black leather cover with "Holy Bible" embossed on it.

Anderson attempts to justify his view by citing John 1:1. He is, of course, wrong to do so. "The Word" is a metaphor, and John makes it clear in the preamble to his Gospel that he is referring to the God-man, Jesus Christ. Just as our thoughts are revealed to others through our words, Christ reveals the mind of God to the world. For Anderson to attempt to use this passage to identify the second person of the Trinity with God's written revelation, the Scriptures, is an equivocation and a gross abuse of the text. (John 1:1 is a biblical "first principle." What is the point of having a "perfectly preserved" Bible, as the KJV-onlyists claim the KJV is, if you lack the ability to interpret even this foundational truth correctly?)

But we have to commend Pastor Anderson for one thing: He's honest. To a fault. Most KJV-onlyists are bibliolators, but they still get very angry when you tell them so. Anderson comes right out and admits it.

But, in all fairness, until he repents of his idolatry (by which I mean turns away from and ceases to practice it, not merely "changes his mind" about it), they should really consider not naming their church "Faithful Word."