November 24, 2006

KJV monkey-boy update

Probably my favourite TV show of all time is the science-fiction program Babylon 5. In one second-season episode, the newly promoted Commander Ivanova, is given a diplomatic assignment: deal with the escalating violence amongst the Drazi that inhabit the station. Every five years, the aliens draw coloured scarves from a barre - some green, some purple. Thus divided, the two factions beat each other senseless for a year for dominance. When Ivanova tries to figure out the rationale behind this completely arbitrary distinction, she is told only, "Green must fight purple, purple must fight green. Is no other way." "Just my luck," she says, "I get stuck with a race that speaks only in macros."

I frequently feel the same way as Cmdr. Ivanova when dealing with KJV-onlyists.

Back in April, I posted an article about what I call the "monkey see, monkey do" logic that is so common amongst KJV-only extremists: that is, they take their opponents' arguments, replace a few words, and think they've created an effective rebuttal. It never works, and usually the result is pretty funny.

But there's another kind of stock KJV-only response, one that years ago led me to start calling the more unthinking sort of KJVers "Ruckmandroids" - a portmanteau of "Ruckman" (after Peter S. Ruckman, the Pensacola loudmouth that spearheads the movement) and "android" - or "droids" for short. Droids think in macros, almost as if they were programmed to turn their brains off and write stuff on autopilot.

I received one such message in my comments to the article's WordPress mirror. Before I give his remarks the fisking they deserve, I note that it's a stock response. "Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D." doesn't actually interact with a single point I raised - he just put his brain into neutral, turned over control to his inner droid, and scribbled out four or five paragraphs of boilerplate. KJV-onlyists, it would appear, speak only in macros.

Also, Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D. sports not one, but two spiffy honorifics. Clearly this is an attempt to cow me with his impressive credentials. But my past experience debating with psycho-fundamentalists tells me that it doesn't take much to become a "pastor" or a "doctor" these days in indy-fundy-Baptist circles. I'm sure Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D. will excuse me if I disregard his credentials for the time being; for in the words of Paul, "what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality" (Gal. 2:6).

So without further ado, let's take a look at this fascinating lesson in How Droids Think (or don't). Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D. writes:

You are so right. I mean, what in the world was a true born again Christian like myself thinking? I was so silly to actually believe the Lord when He said He would not only preserve His word FOREVER, but that He would magnify it ABOVE His own name.

Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D. alleges that he is a "true born again Christian," his tone of voice implying I am not. Here we learn lesson one: KJV-only monkey-boys are Gnostic schismatics. Schismatic, because they presume to define the extents of the New Covenant in a different place than Christ and his apostles did, and divide themselves from the Church based on their own, arbitrary standards. A Christian is saved because of his faith in the completed work of Christ, in his atoning death on a Roman cross, not because he believes in a particular 20th-century bibliology that couldn't even have existed 400 years ago. Gnostic, because it requires special knowledge, known only to the monkey-boys, about the True Nature of the Bible (and the KJV in particular).

By the way, check out Psa. 138:2 when you get the chance. Do you see anything in there that says when it is written, "thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name," it means that God exalts the Bible, or the KJV specifically, above his own name? Me neither. We're going to be making this same leap in logic ("God's word equals only the KJV") more than once in the next few minutes.

You have really made me see the light!

Now, I can be just like you and trust the word of fallible, finite human men, over the infinite, infallible God of the Universe. Boy, what an upgrade!

You already do: the fallible, finite, human men who translated the King James Version. (Oh, but of course that's different.)

In all truth, I am sorry that you are being used as a tool of the devil to turn people away from not only the true word of God, but from the Lord Himself. Shame on you.

Here again we see the same Gnostic schismatism. It's not enough for Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D. that I am wrong, or even in serious error. No, I'm actively working for the Devil and turning people away from the True Faith of monkey-boyism. This will come as a surprise to our young-adult group at church, who last heard me teaching on the canon and why they could trust the Bible in their hands. But Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D. doesn't know this, of course, because he doesn't know me or what I actually believe. Heck, he's not even responding to anything I actually said, remember?

Oh, and it's always funny seeing someone use a cliché like "in all truth" in the midst of a diarrheic flood of sarcasm and vitriol such as this one.

By the way, I suggest you actually look into the underlying manuscript evidence and make an informed decision, rather then simply base your faulty opinion on the teachings of men.

By this, I'm sure he means to look into what his fellow monkey-boys say the "manuscript evidence" is - not to read, say, Aland and Metzger and Westcott for myself and come to my own "informed decision." These are men who have literally written the book on the text of the New Testament, as opposed to your average KJV-onlyist, who has probably never so much as visited the British Museum to see Codex Sinaiticus for himself. When a monkey-boy says not to trust the "teachings of men," he really means not to trust the teachings of certain men. Believing the teachings of his preferred men, of course, is okey-dokey.

You could also try using common sense as well, as you will realize that if we are commanded by God to keep His words, obey His words, not change His words, etc., we must actually first have those "words".

Got 'em right here in my NASB, monkey-boy. Give me $50, and I might even let you have a look.

Also, I defy Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D. to point to a single place where I have "changed" God's words. I have never worked in publishing, so I simply don't have that kind of influence.

To say that we do not have the true "words" of God is to make God a liar and the commands of God not only irrelevant and illegitimate, but downright cruel. It would be like a father commanding his 6 month old [sic] child to quote Shakespeare and then punishing hyim [sic] whne [sic] he can't possibly do it. Shame on you!

I love frothing-at-the-mouth rants, don't you? Really, there's no point, outside of the entertainment value, to waste any more time answering his brand of nitwittery. I doubt I'm going to lose any sleep over Pastor Thomas Long, Ph.D.'s opinion of the state of my soul.