Field Report: 2010 Sword of the Lord Conference

The following is report on the 2010 National Sword of the Lord Conference by an attendee. It is published in its entirety without modification (edit: except the adding of the names of the various session speakers).

My Background:
I come from a nondenominational church on the East Coast. Right now, our church is called a “Fundamental Bible Church”. We are a non-denominational church that uses the New Living Translation. We do not belong to a particular denomination since we prefer to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. After a messy battle with our previous pastor, we are currently revising our Church Constitution (and looking for a new pastor, too). Unsure as to whether we should issue an invitation to candidate to someone who describes themselves as a “fundamental Baptist”, I have been sent to the Sword of the Lord Conference in North Carolina. I am there for the express purpose of finding faults with the conference. After our last pastor, the Board of Elders wants a worst-case scenario report. This will be far from “fair and balanced” reporting.

Monday Evening
The first things that I notice are the huge, ostentatious Bus Ministry signs – as if numbers are a competition. The platform area is raised and features Doric columns and ornate chairs – they remind me of a Greek temple. In this case, the one being adored is the pastor.

The presenter comes to the podium and engages in blatant Hero Worship – He talks about the “great” Dr. Rice, the “great” Gospel Light Baptist Church, and the “great” Sword of the Lord”. It takes over five minutes before anyone says anything about God or Jesus, and even then they fail to call Him “great”. The Presenter then goes on to say that “We will be using the same Bible as last year.” This is greeted with shouts, whistles, and Amens. He then goes on to say that “we will be using” the same complete, perfect, and infallible Bible as people have been using for over 400 years. I take pity on those using foreign-language bibles and determine to visit the booksellers and see if anyone is really selling a KJV 1611.

The music is LOUD. The speakers seem to be set at full volume, and it hurts. It’s worse than any concert of any variety I’ve ever been to. The tempo and beat of the music reminds me of some contemporary worship, but how can that be – isn’t this a bastion of fundamentalism? I must be missing something. Now the sermons start. There’s a small smattering of applause – are these people really applauding a pastor like he’s some kind of celebrity? Anyway, the sermons have begun. I will leave off the speakers names in order to protect the ignorant. Note: please do not consider these to be authoritative lists of stupidity. They are only the ones I could remember after the service, since all the pens seem to have been removed from the auditorium.

Speaker One (Shelton Smith, editor of The Sword Of The Lord) says that America’s problems are ones of repentance. Apparently, only going to the altar shows true repentance and brings revival. His sermon is about the “Amen” speaking – the “Amen” being a name of God. He uses as his text the passage in Revelation talking about the Laodicean church. (Rev 3:16) He says that the “angel” of the church is really the pastor. Strange, since my Strong’s Concordance says this word means minister and is the same word used to describe Michael and Gabriel. What happened to literally translating Scripture? He then says it’s the pastor’s duty to tell his congregation what the Amen is saying. How is this different from the Pope??? Anyway…

Speaker Two (Evangelist Lou Rossi, Jr.) comes to the stage. I can’t even remember what his sermon is about, but I do remember that part of his message was about how we cannot make doctrines out of things that are not in the Bible. He says that yellow busses, preaching in white shirts, and the order of a church service are all extra-biblical things and are only personal preferences, not signs of “rightness” with God. In almost the same breath, he says that when people want to “mess with this (holding up a KJV Bible), then it’s preaching time. He claims that the KJV is the only Bible and all others are fakes. (Please try telling this to the French, German, and Spanish….) He goes on to say that if a church is not KJV only, then it is not a church at all but is instead involved in mysticism and controlled by Babylon.

At another point is his message, Speaker Two complains that men have become effeminate, and blames – of all things – Trading Spaces. He says that the problem comes from “men watching Trading Spaces with their wives – especially that guy with the green hat.” This begs the question: How does he know about the green hat?? He says that men need to go back to being “real” men – men with no feelings. He proclaims that men should be able to say: “Slap me and I don’t feel a thing – I’m dead.” I guess we should also stop treating women with respect….

Speaker Two also blamed the hippies for today’s societal problems and denounced all forms of psychiatry and counseling unless it came directly from the KJV.

A phrase I have grown weary of hearing is, “Can I get an AMEN?!?”. Seriously, if you have to ask, you probably don’t deserve one. It’s especially annoying when it’s asked every 15 seconds. Apparently, a plague will come upon you if you don’t AMEN every time a preacher mentions some Super-Fundy He-Man.

Tuesday Morning
The preachers are treated like celebrities. The applause is LOUD and raucous when they are introduced. How is honoring a man bringing glory to God?

I can’t remember a thing about Speaker One’s (Tim Rabon, pastor of the Beacon Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC) message, other than he said that Paul was executed vial guillotine. Can everyone say “anachronism”? Sometime during his message, he started crying. I guess he missed Mr. No-Heart’s message last night… After he spoke, Speaker One came off the stage only to be greeted by his adoring fans. He walked through the front rows of three sections shaking hands and hugging people. Who does he think he is, taking the glory from God?

Speaker Two (Clyde Box, retired pastor) didn’t even preach. He spent his entire allotted time engaging in Hero Worship. He talked on and on and on about Rice, Hynes, Seitler, and Roloff. I thought about Roloff – should we really be worshiping a guy who essentially killed himself by his own stupidity? Speaker Two also asked all the pastors over 70 to stand, and then literally screamed at the audience, telling them to honor those standing and those already departed – apparently this can be accomplished through soul-winning. And here I thought that soul-winning was to bring glory to God. Glad he straightened me out! He tried to tie in his Hero Sermon with Psalm 45:8, saying that the smells mentioned there are referring to God’s glory, suffering, and healing powers. The Altar Call was to ask God that we “smell the acacia of his healing”. I’m pretty sure he meant that we should go out and win souls, but if that doesn’t sound mystical I don’t know what does. He also urged people to ask forgiveness for not honoring old preachers.

Tuesday Afternoon
I went to the Sword of the Lord tables this afternoon and asked for a KJV 1611. They said the table was full of them. I looked around, and then asked where they were. I was told that they were right in front of me. I pointed out that their KJV Bibles were written in modern English and, therefore, could not be the KJV 1611. I also did this at another, smaller KJV-only bookseller. If fundamentalists are going to proclaim themselves KJV-1611, then they’d better stop lying and start doing it! On another note, in my travels among the booths, I saw a sign proclaiming “2,000 Years of Baptist History”. I must go back to that stall and have a chat with them…

Tuesday Evening
Speaker One’s (Kevin Folger, pastor of the Cleveland Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH) message was on the “due order” of God. He seemed to use this as a springboard to preach against whatever he felt like. He said that CCM was utterly devoid of doctrine and had no spiritual value. It’s obvious that he hasn’t listened to any. He also preached against women looking like men and men looking like women. However, he never really defined any of his terms, but simply stated his personal opinions as if they were divinely inspired from God.

Speaker Two (Paul Chappell, pastor of the Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, CA) had a great message about listening and being filled with the Holy Ghost. The only thing I could find against his message was that he constantly referred to the present time as “The Laodicean Church Age”. How do we know that the seven churches of Revelation are ages of the church and not simply seven kinds of churches? I guess since he believes in seven church ages, there must be seven church ages.

After the service I found the “2,000 Years of Baptist History” people and had a nice discussion with them. They seem to apply the term “Baptist” to anyone that has held similar beliefs throughout history. Since the author is a Ph.D., he must be right. I guess I’m wrong for assuming that since the Baptist denomination began in the 1800s, then there were no Baptists before them. Some people need a basic history lesson: something cannot exist before its creation.

I am still unable to find a KJV 1611.

Wednesday Morning

Speaker One (Evangelist John Bishop) was great. I have nothing to say against him. He preached an excellent message on dealing with difficult times.

Speaker Two (Max Barton, pastor of the People’s Baptist Church in Greenville, NC) started with praise for Dr. Smith, the Smith Family, Dr. Rice, and Dr. Hyles. He then launched into his sermon, tied loosely to Psalm 80 (or perhaps it was 85). He dealt with the problems of America – apparently television being one of the most grievous sins of the past century. Second to television was America’s cultural abandonment of her so-called Christian heritage. Never mind the fact that many of the persons quoted were Masons (secret societies are frowned upon by Fundamentalists), Deists, or Agnostics. Since they mention God in a favorable light, they must be OK.

Speaker Two then expounded on the problems with “modern” preaching. He mentioned two problems. The first problem – no surprise here – is the fact that preachers are not using the KJV. Those that do not use the KJV are doomed to fail because they are not backed by the power of God found in the Authorized Version. Apparently fundamentalists have never read the preface to the KJV, which clearly states that (1) The KJV was authorized by King James and not God, and (2) that the purpose of the KJV was to advance the Church of England. I doubt that many fundamentalists would say the Church of England was ever a “Christian” church. The second problem with modern preachers is their use of PowerPoint. He never said exactly what the problem with PowerPoint is, he just said that his lack of PowerPoint knowledge somehow disqualified him from preaching….go figure.

Wednesday Evening
Talk about Hero Worship: Speaker One (Bobby Roberson, pastor of the Gospel Light Baptist Church in Walkertown, NC) was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. He then proceeded to spend his allotted time just talking without spending much time in the Bible. He talked about how great his church was, how great his bus ministry was, how great his Spanish ministry was, and how great his school was. He also talked about Hyles, Sightler, and Roloff. After each anecdote, he would attribute praise to God. However, it seemed to me like he was just blowing his own horn. What about all the churches that cannot do those kinds of ministries? Does that make them inferior? For a “Revival and Soul Winning Conference,” it had little to do with either.

Speaker Two (R. B. Oullette, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, MI) used as his text the passage talking about the prophet of God who went astray and was killed by a lion. He used this as a springboard to encourage the audience to “keep on the right path.” I’ve tried to remember the things he talked about, but please do not consider this to be a complete list. Throughout this sermon there were constant AMENs, yells, hand waving, et cetera.

Preached Against: John MacArthur, Rick Warren and his wife, Charles Shuler, drinking, dancing, Hollywood, movies, television, CCM, non-KJV Bibles (the NIV is especially wicked), praise and worship bands, modesty (which was never really defined”, DVDs, radio, the Southern Baptist Convention, and everything that had anything non-fundamentalist about it.

Preached For: The Sword of the Lord, the KJV, the Old Paths, “good” music, and everything that Fundamentalism has stood for since it began.

Surprises: He said he was not against facial hair or the non-wearing of ties as long as no other doctrines were compromised.

Thursday Morning
Speaker One (Raymond Barber, pastor emeritus of the Worth Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, TX) and Two (Mike Allison, pastor of the Madison Baptist Church in Madison, AL) were essentially the same = America would fall into moral and economic ruin unless everyone adheres to Fundamentalist beliefs.

Thursday Night
Speaker One (Jeff Amsbaugh, pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in Columbus, GA) preached a great message on power of God

Speaker Two (Norris Belcher, pastor of the Church Of The Open Door in Westminster, MD) preached about Hezekiah breaking brass serpent of Moses. This guy was anti-everything. I think this guy managed to fit in everything fundies hate; I couldn’t even keep up with a list. I remember him saying we should worship people like MacArthur and Warren, but didn’t say anything about the Hero Worship of the Pastors/Special Music that had gone on the entire week. He said that things shouldn’t be kept around because of how old they were or if that’s the way our ancestors did it. (Wait, don’t they use those arguments FOR the KJV? I guess it doesn’t apply here). Essentially, this guy was saying that unless we followed all the tenets of Fundamentalism, we were living in idolatry.

Cut my visit short. I can’t take it anymore.

[ for the record this means that he missed:
1. Mike Norris, pastor of the Franklin Road Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN
2. Jeff Fugate, pastor of the Clays Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington, KY
3. Sam Davison, pastor emeritus of the Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma
City, OK
4. Joe Arthur, pastor of the Harvest Baptist Tabernacle in Jonesboro, GA]

I will recommend to the Board of Elders that we screen carefully anyone calling himself a “fundamental Baptist”. In addition, I will suggest that we drop the word “Fundamental” from the name of our church.

Are you going to be attending a fundamentalist event? Reports from the front lines are always welcome at SFL. Anonymity guaranteed.

188 thoughts on “Field Report: 2010 Sword of the Lord Conference”

  1. I love pointing out that the 1611 includes the Apocrypha. “Oh, you have the 1611? How many books are in it? Only 66? Oh, that’s definitely not the 1611.” I also enjoy pointing out that it was authorized for use in the Church of England. The words “Cum Privilegio” on the title page are another good one (see, it does pay to read books all the way through!).

  2. It means “with privilege.” As I understand it that pretty much is a copyright. Totally shoots down the idea that the KJV isn’t copyrighted. 🙂

  3. To be honest, I think that pointing out that the 1611 edition of the KJV has the apocrypha is a waste of time, as none of the translators, readers or anyone else associated with the protestant reformation considered it canon, and removed it in subsequent printings. It was not part of the 1611 text of the Bible – it was part of the 1611 Apocrypha. Most IFB’s are aware that the 1611 was published along with the Apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments.

    In 1599, in his Basilicon Doron, pp13, James Charles Stewart said “As to the Apocriphe bookes, I omit them because I am no papist (as I said before)”.

    While I still hold to the belief that the KJV is infallible, so I might appear bias here, I think that in the discussion, there is more weight in discussing actual translation issues, and not anecdotal evidence of what was and what might have been that are external to the actual issue. No IFB will deny the fact that the KJV contained the Apocrypha, or that various printings have contained various printing press errors over the years, or that spelling has changed since 1611 and the KJV most people have is a 1769 standardisation of spelling.

    I’m not one to really argue about this, but you won’t get anywhere by bringing up the same issues most IFB’s have heard a million times over. When I was one, and I actively fought with others about this, if someone started saying “the apocrypha was in the 1611”, well, it just meant to me that the other person didn’t actually care about the translation issues, since they were referring to something external to the actual canon of scriptures as proof.

    I’m not sure how having the apocrypha in the 1611 introduces errors into say, the book of Matthew?

  4. Throw out the gymnastics of debate and you are left with one undeniable reality that KJV-only people fail to recognize. You cannot create a perfect translation from one language to the next, because languages do not have identical words for word exchanges. Both Greek and Hebrew have verb tenses that don’t even exist in English, so translators had to sub in the next best verb tense they could find, and yes, that introduced subtle changes in meaning. Also, both Hebrew and Greek relied upon vital words that represent concepts that don’t exist in English, or that have actually changed over the centuries. So it’s impossible to get an infallible translation of an infallible book that was written in a different language.

    Nobody has ever preached or taught well from the Bible without going back to the ancient languages to consult what they were actually saying, and to explain them to students or a congregation. Only the KJVO people do that, and as has been abundantly proved, their sermons are often incredibly stupid and even heretical. You cannot teach accurately from any English language Bible without consulting the wording from the Greek and Hebrew to correct the English representation of the meaning in places.

  5. Most fundies don’t think or argue that deeply. Most just parrot the errors of Riplinger, Ruckman and Marrs. Most of the fundy crowd don’t know why they are KJVO for any reason other than their pastor is KJVO.

    For the most part fundies are guilty of comparing translation against translation and not going back to the extant documents and engaging in textual criticism. When a fundy begins with the premise that the King Jimmy is the standard they have lost the argument right out of the gate. The Ruckmanknights are the worst since they believe in re-inspiration.
    Dogmatic adherence to the TR is also a non starter with me.

    The whole KJVO thing is the issue that brought the fundy religion house of cards crashing down for me. KJVO is one of the foundational tenents of fundyism. It prepares the cult member for a life of blind obedience to whatever else the self anointed, self proclaimed, full-time, M-o-g might have to say from the so-called sacred desk. If his APM (amens per minute) is slowing down all he has to do is reference his reverence for the KJV, that is sure to elicit a chorus of amens and PIB’s. (Preach It Brother) The height of this ignorance is when one of these sock puppets gets up and says that only the King Jimmy version is the Word of God and all these other versions are NOT the word of God, so one can only be saved using the King James version. (or the KJB as they call it… its not a version it is THE Bible)

    I am not trying to start a King Jimmy debate here, since this is not the forum to do that. Suffice it to say that King Jimmyism is one of the bottom cards of the IFB cult, expose it for what it is and the whole house of cards starts to collapse.

  6. I had enough of Sword Conference when I went to church and school there! I didn’t hate school there, because I had come from a much worse fundy school so when I got to GL I finally felt like I could breathe!

    I, too, attended GL Youth conference and had to endure the fully clothed in dark clothing trip to the park. It was the most miserable time ever spent at a water park. I’m sure many of the people who put such strict parameters around male/ female interaction would be quite unhappy to find out on the last day of the year I went, I was kissed twice by a boy I had met during the conference at the front doors of the church… It still makes me laugh when I think about it.

  7. @Phil Ray Thanks for the unpleasant memories about the love of gruesome retellings of the crucifixion. I once lost it in a Sunday School class @ PCC thanks to that tactic (was already fighting some nausea going in, and ended up both losing it, and passing out). I still get reminded of that every few years from the couple of friends I have from college. Best part, after I regained consciousness & left for the “wellness center” speaker picks up where he was and continues on w/ the same story.

  8. usedtobefundy wrote: “I have no knowledge of Mr. Bishop …But I am suspicious of any pastor who could agree with the SOTL enough to be one of their speakers. Does the hero-worshipping stuff offend your friend?”

    Mr. Bishop considers himself to be an evangelist more so than a pastor, but yes, hero-worship and many other sins offend him – especially his own sins. I guess he could be accused of failing to point out the faults of all the other speakers (even though that’s not typically his style of preaching) or for being considered fundy enough to be invited in the first place, but I only originally intended to make the point that the person who wrote the post gave him a fairly good review, and my experience with him concurs.

  9. @Ministry Addict: Do you know if John Bishop is still blind or not. For a while he went blind from some kind of condition he had. I know that he is probably still heavily involved in the youth camp Triple S. Even if he is still blind I surehe still does whole lot( as far as traveling and preaching.)

  10. Phil: This is the latest news on his eyesight that I have heard: “His eyesight seems to be steady “not getting any worse”. And his spirit is of course always on the up and up. Brother John is STILL riding his scooter even though he can’t see but 3 feet in front of him, and just last week he hit the Pepsi truck, just a few bumps, bruises, and lots of stories. Thank You for your faithful prayers as Brother John has accepted his condition even if it is permanent,” which I reluctantly pass on, knowing that it could well open up a whole can of ridicule, since he is pretty “fundy” as I understand the term (but hoping that it won’t.)

  11. @ Ministry Addict: Thanks. It’s pretty bad that I live in his state and I don’t know.I don’t think that he is a bad man. I don’t like all of his associations, but he has a pretty big speaking base. He one of those who just won’t quit even if he is down or hindered by health.

  12. This is kinda scary when I realize that my youth group has been to two of the churches who’s pastor spoke.

  13. I read this post originally at arms length. And then, Darrell, you added the names. And it hit home. And I’ve been sighing ever since.

  14. I’ve listened to John Bishop for several years and he is wonderful. He has definitely pick up quiet a bit of fundamentalism unfortunately. When I heard him last May he was more angry and judgmental. He isn’t blind anymore.

    As for the rest, fundy conferences are just times for preachers to pat each other on the back and yell (preach). The sermons are all straight out of the fundy playbook and vary little from year to year. Only the names are changed to spread hate towards “heretics” like Rick Warren and MacArthur.

  15. @Don,

    Translation issues were the final straw for me, too. Although mine was finding out from serious classics scholars (not biblical language scholars, that discipline is decades behind mainstream classical studies) that, if you read the NT in the original Greek *and* you have extensive experience of reading secular Greek texts from the 1st to 6th centuries, it starts to become glaringly obvious that the letters now attributed to Paul have been seriously mucked about with over the years. Chunks of writing with a 4th century vocab and style are dropped into passages that are mainly in 1st century vocab and style. Interestingly, one of the interpolations is that passage telling women to be silent in church, another is one of the references to homosexuality. Even more interesting, there are records of church fathers and scholars picking this up both in the 5th century, shortly after the additions were made, and later in the Renaissance, after a huge volume of original texts became available in the West for the first time in centuries. In both cases, the discoveries got quickly swept under the carpet by politicking and the sheer force of what people thought the Bible *ought* to say.

  16. I’m all for going after abusers, but if you look at the bottom of the page of the link where Happy Tab was accused, there’s a link to a more recent story where the charges were dropped.

    Bugs the fire out of me when people lie about this stuff, because then people who really do need help get dismissed as liars too.

  17. TomK said,

    “….fundy conferences are just times for preachers to pat each other on the back and yell (preach).”

    Methinks “screech” would be a better term. The Watchtower Society at one time referred to Protestants, Evangelicals and Fundies as “hell-fire screechers”.

  18. This is a hoot! Lou Rossi preached against men watching Trading Spaces – I wrote the theme music for that show!!! What a novel way of measuring a man’s masculinity!

  19. In response to Theadosia:
    Some scholars do say the things about Paul’s letters having interpolations…and some deny those accusations outright. I am by no means a Kjv-only guy, but you are undercutting the authority of scripture, and proclaimimg basically that all truly learned people agree with your conclusions. I’m not trying to start an argument, but I am interrupting to say that those conclusions are not as universally agreed upon as you might like to think.

    Peace out

  20. You’re right Dave. Indeed, Paul’s arguments for the woman keeping her head covered while prophesying, for example, are exactly consistent with the viewpoint of Aristotelian *decorum* of his day. The problem is that modern readers, not understanding the social context, read the text as some sort of “spiritual leadership” that exists in an invisible world and is demonstrated in the visible world by the woman covering her head. It’s not nearly that complicated. Paul is simply talking about acceptable social behavior in public that would not make Christian women appear shameless to Corinthian society.

    Hyper authoritarian Evangelicals and Fundamentalists certainly do have their blind spots regarding the text. They interpret minor texts as major commands to keep “the boys club” in power. Then again, modern revisionists who have “discovered” that every piece of Scripture they don’t like was actually added in later have their own blind spots to deal with, as well.

  21. Dear Bassenco:

    Completely agreed! You make the point of understanding the cultural context of the text very well. I’m all for a deeper understanding of the circumstances that may have led to passages that seem curious in our cultural context. But if we completely undercut the authenticity of scripture (as I feel the other commenter may have been doing), we end up exactly where the Fundy camp accuses us of being: we are sliding into a pit of secularism and non-belief.

    I believe that a real God can accomplish giving us His Word without error. But the problem is that I have to be patient enough, humble enough, and trust Him enough to take the time and find out what it is really saying. I think both the Fundies and the secularists have missed the boat in that department.

  22. I remember a few of those preachers from PCC. Clyde Box, of course, who preached the same Acacia message every time he came. And Norris Belcher, who I remember because he said “queers” during a chapel sermon, and also because his daughter was one of the few girls at PCC who was daring enough to wear short hair.

  23. I really do not get the fascination with King James and the translation he commissioned. Have these people not heard of Buckingham?

  24. But it’s not true, and it doesn’t matter. If King James was gay, so were David and Jonathan.

  25. I mean, the “quotes” that people use to prove James was gay are no worse than those verses in the Bible regarding David and Jonathan’s friendship.

  26. “If King James was gay, so were David and Jonathan.”

    What in the world kind of logic is that? David and Jonathan were not gay, and King James was. Facts don’t hinge on other, unrelated facts. Facts are about what actually happened. King James had affairs with men. That happened. Deal with it. His love letters—both those that he sent and those that he received–are way, way more pointed about what was going on; they include outright erotic comments, and are way more torrid than anything David proclaimed when he wept in public over Jonathan.

  27. @trex I went to his church and graduated from his school and no one is arguing whether or not Bobby Roberson is a nice person, he in fact is one of the nicest, most humble people you will ever meet but what does this have to do with this article or any of the discussion? Does that negate the harm of some of heresy spewed from that pulpit?

  28. @ Phil – “Even if it is true I don’t know why it matters.”

    It matters because fundies are very big on “touch not the unclean thing.” For example, Amy Grant got divorced and remarried. That means to a fundie not only are you never allowed to listen to Amy Grant’s music, you are also not allowed to listen to any CCM because of the taint of her actions. Another example is C.S. Lewis, whom my mom told me I shouldn’t read because he was an Anglican and believed in purgatory. Separate, separate, separate is what fundies primarily advocate in every situation. So it is ironic that they use a Bible named by a king from whom (had they lived in that time period) they would have had to separate!

    I’ve been told by my parents that the KJV translators were godly, holy men whereas those who paid for, commissioned and translated modern versions were liberals and reprobates. Even if they were 100% correct about that – which I doubt – it is still interesting that they always give a pass to good old King James himself. He is never mentioned (beyond the use of his name). Why is it a sin to read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” because of the word “witch” in the title (yes, that was my parents’ position!), but OK to read a book with the name of a sinful king on the cover?

  29. BTW, to add to my last comment, I have no problem reading the KJV, whatever King James was really like. I also have no problem reading the NIV, the NLT, the NASB, and the Amplified, etc. I just find it funny how so many things in our culture are picked apart, judged, and rejected based on association alone, whereas the fundies never apply the issue of association to King James!

  30. @ Phil, absolutely! There does NOT have to be guilt by association, as you said!!! But to a fundie, so MANY things are rejected because of that very point that some of us find it ironic that they never apply that standard of guilt by association to the KJV.


    Can you link me to these letters? I’ve never read them, and only heard things from others. I am aware of the accusations after his death, and I am aware of this quote

    “I, James, am neither a god nor an angel, but a man like any other. Therefore I act like a man and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had John, and I have George.”

    But I cannot find anything erotic, or torrid that he actually wrote. I mean, the above is nothing bad. I am not sure of the entire context. It only ever seems to turn up just as it is above. But that quote above, is nothing – like I said, David and Jonathan shared a similar relationship.

  32. If you want to be an ex-fundy, start using your skills. Start using your mind. God gave it to you for you to use, not so you could sit back and passively accept what’s told to you. Look up “Privy Council 1617,” in which a debate over James’ open homosexuality led him to compare himself and George Villiers to Christ and John. Look up, ” Théophile de Viau,” a French contemporary of James, who wrote the poem “Au marquis du Boukinquan” about King James’s homosexual affair with the Duke of Buckingham. Look up “George Villiers” (Christian name of the Duke of Buckingham).. Sir Simonds D’Ewes and Sir John Oglander both reproached the king for his openly homosexual behavior. James wasn’t ashamed of it. He had three prominent lovers in his lifetime, and he kissed them openly and hung on them in public. Buckingham refers to James as his Mistress in his letters, and speaks of longing to hold James’s legs in his arms again, a reference to “you know what,” which may have been their preference over sodomy (King James & letters of homoerotic desire, pp 134-136).

  33. @Dave,

    Sorry for the late response, it’s very annoying the way that life can interfere with the internet. Okay, now this is just my position and I suspect that I would be considered a screaming radical by even the most liberal of the other commentators on this site.

    Two things – when you say that some scholars accept the interpolations and others don’t, are you considering and weighing the actual learning and depth of expertise of those individual scholars, or just what you consider to be their religious credentials? In my experience, those who notice the interpolations tend to have a wider and deeper knowledge of the language than those who don’t. Many scholars of biblical Greek keep to a very narrow range of texts and to a fairly codified and restricted set of definitions, they often don’t seem to have the extensive knowledge and appreciation of contemporary secular texts which, I think, are absolutely required in order to do a truly accurate translation. The people who wrote the NT were not writing in some special, sacred dialect of Greek, they were writing in the common language of their times, and a good translator should know that, and also be aware of how that language changes over time.

    Secondly – I don’t think examining scripture with a truly critical eye and acknowledging problems with both the original texts and the way in which those texts were chosen and compiled, is necessarily ‘undermining the authority of scripture’. I think that that attitude comes from fear, and it was the overwhelming fear and anxiety I experienced in fundy circles that mainly drove me out. I do think it’s interesting that fundies tend to prefer Paul to Jesus, and that many of the texts that they lean on most heavily are also those that seem most removed in time from 1st century Judea. I think that it’s possible to strip out the interpolations and the inaccurate translations, to acknowledge the ambiguities and holes, and still have something worthwhile. What you get by concentrating on the definitely early stuff and regarding the later as commentary is fascinating. It’s something wilder, rawer, more mystical and rather more difficult than what happens from the 3rd century on as Christianity gets co-opted and domesticated. I can see why it would scare a lot of people, but myself I find it more exhilarating than frightening.

  34. Well the point of the text, and the point of Christianity itself, is neither fear nor exhilaration, but Love: Love of God foremost, and Love of others second. Christianity may have more mystery than Fundamentalists allow, but if we go to the benchmark sermon of Christ, the Sermon on the Mount, we still get a very text oriented presentation of exactly what to believe and how to live, and how that life of faith is manifested to the world.

  35. @Theodosia I guarantee you wouldn’t be the most “out there” screaming radical I know. 🙂

  36. @BASSENCO,

    Forgive the choice of terms, I was thinking of how I first felt when I realised that I didn’t have to be terrified all the time. I have schizo-affective and ADD – ‘mood swings’ doesn’t *begin* to describe it (although you probably wouldn’t realize if you met me in person, I am very, very good at navigating normality when I have to).

  37. Sorry for the debilitation. But still, Scripture is what it is, and it is a religion based on a text. The fact that fundies erred in one direction does not negate the reality that others can err in other directions. Most of what Christ taught is simple and echos the prophets of the Old Testament. Then there are the “hard sayings,” (a lot of which come from the Gospel of John) some of which have puzzled scholars for centuries. But to throw out the epistles over the “hard sayings” because mysticism is more appealing still means you’re applying some type of commentary to the text, just not the historic, canonical commentary that the Christian Church has accepted after a long process of consideration, discussion, and debate (and some saber rattling, at times).

  38. I’m kind of disappointed Rick Warren only got slammed twice. I went to one session last year for a lark and heard it a couple times then as well. (To clarify….Rick has been my pastor for many. many years after bailing on fundyism.).

    Going to things like this are really funny….and sad at the same time.

  39. Does this KJV-only movement really exist? Every time I read about it, I think the Internet must be playing a joke on me.

  40. @Paul D: Sadly, yes. That’s the way I – and most of the readers here – grew up. :/

Comments are closed.