The quotes provided below are to assist all readers in determining not only who was the person of influence who began to teach in the 20th century that the KJV was inerrant and/or inspired, but also when. Many of the initial quotes are of KJV defenders who never used (to our knowledge) terms such as infallible, inerrant, perfect or inspired to describe the KJV, so they can be ruled out by a process of elimination.
This is considered a work in progress, and readers are invited to participate. Do you have a relevant quote that can be added here to determine the name of the first individual who can be documented to have influenced others to clearly teach that the KJV was inerrant, perfect, infallible or inspired? If so, send us a note via the comment section at the bottom of the page.
The fact that I document someone’s connection with Ruckman in some way does not mean they should be considered a full-fledged Ruckmanite, or that they always agreed with Ruckman on matters other than inspiration or inerrancy of the KJV.
In 1917 W.B. Riley wrote a book by the title The Menace of Modernism. Referring to this book, George W. Dollar on p. 114 of his 1973 book A History of Fundamentalism in America wrongly portrayed Riley as follows: “Riley’s answer was that ‘(1) the Bible was finished in heaven and handed down, (2) the King James Version was absolutely inerrant…” Perhaps p. 9 of Riley’s book gave George Dollar the wrong impression. However, according to R.L. Hymers, author of The Ruckman Conspiracy, Riley had written the following on p. 13 of the same book, which Dollar must have missed:
To claim, therefore, inerrancy for the King James Version or even for the Revised Version, is to claim inerrancy for men who never professed it for themselves, to clothe with the claim of verbal inspiration a company of men who would almost quit their graves to repudiate such equality with the prophets and apostles. (http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Books_V/The%20RuckmanConspiracy.txt)
The first person I am aware of in the 20th century to write a book defending the KJV who could properly be called a KJV defender was Philip Mauro. In 1924 he published Which Version? Authorized Or Revised? The following quote on p. 87 reveals that he believed the KJV was reliable, but not inerrant, perfect or infallible:
… we do not fail to recognize, what is admitted by all competent authorities, that the A.V. could be corrected in a number of passages where the meaning is now obscured because of changes which three centuries have brought about in the meaning of English words, or where diligent study or recent discoveries have brought to light better readings. Such instances, however, are comparatively few …
In 1925 William Aberhart wrote The Latest of Modern Movements: Or What About The Revised Version Of The Bible? I do not have the benefit of reading it for myself, as it is a rare publication long out of print and not even available as an inter-library loan. David Cloud in his book For Love of the Bible quotes about four pages of excerpts. From these excerpts several observations are apparent:
- He made mention of practical reasons for retaining the KJV. He gave the example of how in France three versions were in common use, which was causing confusing.
- Another example of his concerns was a 3-point outline of what would happen “if we grant modernism the authority to revise and correct our Bibles.”
- In one paragraph he made mention of “an infallible guide,” but he was speaking of the Bible in general and not about the KJV, as specific Bible versions were not mentioned in that paragraph, nor in the preceding or following paragraph.
- He strongly believed in preservation, going as far as to say “the Lord Jesus intended to see to it that the Bible, His Word, would be preserved for us in a perfect, infallible state.” However, he did not mention the KJV in that paragraph nor in the preceding or following paragraph.
- When he did speak of the KJV specifically, he did not use terms such as infallible, perfect or inerrant to describe it. The following is an example of how he referred to the KJV: “The Authorized version is reliable.”
David Cloud believes that the KJV is inerrant, so if Aberhart would have stated something to the effect that the KJV was inerrant, Brother Cloud would surely not have hesitated to include such a statement in his excerpts to try to establish a link to such a belief early in the 20th century.
Aberhart went on to become a politician, and died in office as Premier of Alberta in 1943.
1930 marks the year in which 7th Day Adventist Benjamin Wilkinson published his book Our Authorized Bible Vindicated. He was very clear in his denial of the inspiration of translations. Notice this statement from p. 256 of the 1989 reprint by Leaves-of-Autumn Books:
The original Scriptures were written by direct inspiration of God. This can hardly be said of any translation.
Not only did he not affirm in his book that the KJV was inerrant, infallible or perfect, he quoted someone approvingly who had stated
…how very seldom the Authorized Version is materially wrong, and that no doctrine has been misrepresented there. (Ibid., p. 89)
Wilkinson followed up his first book with Our Authorized Bible: Answers to Objections. On p. 27 of the 2008 Teach Services reprint he warned as follows about his views being misreprented on this matter by reviewers of his first book:
…they unjustly represent me as making claims [sic] Authorized Version is inerrant and perfect, and the Greek Text upon which it is built as “flawless”.
In this year William Hoste printed a pamphlet by the title Remove Not The Ancient Landmark: The Case Against the Revised Version. On p. 10 of the edition reprinted by Penfold Book & Bible House, Hoste states the following:
The A.V. (though, of course, not perfect) was Translated on more Reliable Principles.
Although he did not put it in writing at the time and we only have his word on it, Ruckman made the following claim of note for this year:
In 1949 I came to the conclusion that the King James Holy Bible was the infallible, inerrant final authority in “all matters of faith and practice” for ME and every English-speaking sinner like me. I was thoroughly convinced it was a supernatural book by READING IT, and I had never read it until I had finished a book a day since I was ten years old (6,105 books). (Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Apr. 2007 p. 4).
In the early 1950’s Mark Buch of the People’s Fellowship Tabernacle in Vancouver, British Columbia, began a series of debates in defense of the KJV and to warn of the RSV which was coming on the scene at the time. The highlights of the debates as well as some brief articles by Buch were covered by some regional secular newspapers. In 1977, Mark Buch self-published a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings and some of his thoughts by the title In Defence of the Authorized Version: One Pastor’s Battle. In the second article mentioned in Buch’s scrapbook, the journalist portrayed Buch as believing in the inspiration of the KJV without quoting him directly:
Upholding the dogma of the inherent inspiration of the King James version of the Bible, Rev. Mr. Buch said the claim of the new Bible to change only the wording into the “living language of the day” was false.
There is the possibility that Buch may have believed in the inerrancy or inspiration of translations, but there was no first-hand quote in his scrapbook in which Buch stated such a thing directly and where the KJV was specifically mentioned. Buch often referred to the KJV as “a correct translation.” His belief in perfect preservation of Greek and Hebrew copies was like Aberhart, under whom he had studied. I am not aware of any KJV defender who has written mentioning Buch as having influenced him or listing Buch in the bibliographies of their writings before David Cloud mentioned him in his 1995 book For Love of the Bible.
Another undated publication from the mid-1950’s was Edgar Bundy’s Communism Invading the Churches: The New Per-Version of the Bible. It contained a foreword by Dr. John Rawlings, leader in the Baptist Bible Fellowship. It did not suggest in the slightest that the KJV was inspired or in any way inerrant.
In the mid 1950’s R. C. Foster, professor of Greek and New Testament at Cincinnati Bible Seminary published a series of articles warning about the RSV. They were reproduced in an appendix to a 1973 book by Foy Wallace, Jr. by the title A Review of the New Versions. Foster made it clear in his publication that he did not believe the KJV to be inerrant. R.C. Foster was not typical of those who rose up against the RSV, because he was defensive of the American Standard Version in addition to the KJV.
In this year Alfred Martin finished a dissertation by the title A Critical Examination of the Westcott-Hort Textual Theory, which was partially reproduced years later in the book Which Bible? edited by David O. Fuller. A look the chapter by Alfred Martin in Which Bible? showed that Martin stuck to the matter of the New Testament Greek texts, and had nothing to say about the perfection or inspiration of a translation.
Within months of the release of the Old Testament of the RSV, Pastor Clayton Howard Gray of the First Baptist Church of Butler, PA preached a series of messages published in booklet form by the title The Revised Standard Version—A Friend or a Traitor to the Faith? It did not suggest in the slightest that the KJV was inspired or in any way inerrant.
In 1952 Dick Cimino wrote a booklet by the title The Truth about the “New Bible” On pp. 5-6 he wrote:
We don’t object to Esau being called a “skillful” hunter, instead of a “cunning” one as in the King James Version. We don’t mind referring to the Israelites as being armed for battle” instead of being “harnessed.” We will admit that it was the “foreign” women who caused Solomon to sin, instead of the “outlandish.” (Anything “foreign” to God’s will is “outlandish”).
Actually, these are minor problems. Not one less sinner was saved because he didn’t know the difference between “foreign” and “outlandish.” Not one less preacher was dislocated in the preparation and presentation of his message because he may not have known that the Israelites were ARMED instead of HARNESSED!
We accept the King James Version because of its merits, and not because of any human “Authority.”
This version [the RSV] is not as accurate as the King James Version, for the simple reason that these men did not have the same reverence for the literal interpretation of the Word of God as the translators had before them.
Circa mid 1950’s
Around the mid 1950’s Oliver B. Green published an undated pamphlet entitled The RSV and KJV compared. Nowhere in it did he declare the KJV to be inspired, inerrant or perfect. On p. 62 he wrote the following as part of his conclusion:
I close this message with the solemn words of Revelation 22:18, 19 –and I quote them from the Reliable King James Version of the Bible.
In 1955 J.J. Ray wrote the first edition of his book God Wrote only One Bible. On p. 30 of the first edition he wrote as follows:
The crying need of today is still for an honest, trustworthy revision of the King James Bible. However, it remains the very best English translation now extant.
This statement was removed in a 1980 edition of the book I have in my possession.
This marks the year in which Edward F. Hills published the first edition of his popular book The King James Version Defended. The concluding paragraph of the 1st edition reads thus:
Consistently Christian principles, therefore, do lead to the adoption of the King James Version as the standard English Bible. This does not mean, however, that minor improvements may not be made in this venerable translation. Certain obsolete expressions may no doubt be modernized, certain infelicitous renderings bettered. But these changes must be kept down to a minimum and introduced with great care in order that the matchless beauty of this great piece of classic English prose may in no wise be impaired. Thus slightly revised, the King James Version will doubtless continue for another three hundred and fifty years (if the Lord tarry so long) to preserve for faithful readers the true New Testament text undamaged by the ravages of naturalistic New Testament textual criticism.
In this year Evangelist Dan Gilbert issued a small 31-page booklet entitled Debate: The “New Bible” Versus “Old-Fashioned Bible.” The objective of his booklet was solely to expose the RSV, so he did not even mention the KJV. Therefore, it did not teach that the KJV was inspired or inerrant.
In May, 1959 B.F. Dearmore published a brief one-page article by the title “Greek vs. English” in his newsletter The Message. He starts off the article with the following thought-provoking question:
Do we actually have a Bible? I believe we do. If so, what is the Bible? Is it the so-called New Bible? …[several translations mentioned]
Some will say it is not either but it is the original. If that answer is true, we have no Bible for the original is not in existence.
One of his statements imply that some believe that only the original is “the Bible.” I cannot think of a Christian who would not be willing to refer to the Bible translation he trusts as “the Bible,” or at least “a translation of the Bible.” The following paragraph includes a statement that is worthy of our attention:
Others might say certain parts of each translation (or version) are correct and certain parts are incorrect. If this is true we still have no Bible. Will we let the Catholic, Campbellite or the Baptist say which parts to accept?
As for me, I will take the King James translation as the very Word of God for the English people. I believe it is without error. It is 100 percent correct.
Notice that he was expressing the attitude with which he personally approached the KJV, and he implied it was not something he imposed on others, as he began his statement with “as for me…” However, this comes across as a legitimate early case of expressing a personal conviction that the KJV was inerrant under his hypothetical situation of of having to either choose a Bible with parts that cannot be accepted or a Bible that is 100 percent correct. Did he remain consistent with this defense of the KJV? More articles written by him would need to be examined to make such a determination. Unfortunately, his newsletter apparently did not have much circulation, as remaining copies are hard to find. No other copies were located for purposes of our research. As with Mark Buch, I am not aware of any KJV defender who has written mentioning Dearmore as having influenced him or listing Dearmore in the bibliographies of their writings before David Cloud mentioned him in his 1995 book For Love of the Bible. No books could be located written by B.F. Dearmore, with the exception of The Church, a 12-page pamphlet.
In 1961 Ian Paisley wrote The New English Bible: Version or Perversion?, a 32-page booklet. It didn’t have a date of publication in the title page, but the introduction makes it obvious that it was written in 1961. Paisley did not state anywhere that the KJV was inspired or inerrant. In the conclusion the following sentence can be found:
The A.V. is reliable because it tells us as accurately as possible what the Bible says and not what some galaxy of scholars, who, however learned, are after all, but mortals like ourselves, thinks it ought to say.
In September of this year the famous Christian author M.R. Dehaan issued his 32-page booklet Bible Versions and Perversions. To answer the question as to whether he taught that the KJV was inspired or inerrant, we offer the following quote from page 9 and 26:
We believe that these translations into the various languages were directed by God, and while we do not claim that they were inerrant, as were the originals, we do believe that God saw to it that no major errors were introduced, but the meaning of the text was preserved. … The Authorized Version is reliable because it tells us as accurately as possible what the Bible says…
In this year Peter Ruckman published the 1st edition of his book The Bible Babel. This was during a time in which Ruckman was still forming his beliefs regarding the KJV. At first glance, this book may not seem to go much farther than KJV defenders before him. There are statements that were typical of KJV defenders before him, such as: “…the AV is an honest translation.” But if you examine his book carefully, you will notice a new twist. On p. 24 he wrote (pay special attention to what he said in the parenthesis):
Unlike the translators of the AV (who assumed that they were handling inerrant truth from God Himself), the new translators assume that translating should CORRECT errors that God made in regards to His attitude about His Son!
On p. 64 Ruckman added:
Alongside the RSV, and ASV the AV, 1611 is flawless, when it comes to “uniform translating.”
On p. 73 he has an illustration with a Bible labeled as KJV at the top of a tree, with the statement “The one, true, infallible God-breathed Bible” beneath the tree. It is not likely a reference to the originals, as the originals were already mentioned part-way up the tree, and the KJV label is by far the largest single item mentioned in the illustration. On p. 73 there is a reference to “1059 God-breathed pages,” which in the context clearly implies that it is a reference to the KJV. Ruckman doesn’t know how many pages the originals consisted of, so it could only be a reference to a KJV Bible he had on hand. On p. 72 Ruckman implies that the KJV is “the Holy Spirit’s writing,” as it was the only Bible he refers to in the previous sentence. The KJV defenders Ruckman cites in the footnotes of his book did not teach the KJV was inspired or inerrant, so it cannot be said that Ruckman was merely passing down what he had been taught.
It should also be mentioned that in the 1960’s Ruckman began to publish his Bible Believer’s Commentary Series. It’s primary purpose was to defend the infallibility of every word of the KJV, something which had never been done before in a Bible commentary series.
In this year Edward Hills—whose 1956 work has already been quoted—published Believing Bible Study. A first edition copy was not located for this study. My source is a third edition published posthumously in 1991. On p. 83 we read:
Admittedly the King James Version is not ideally perfect. No translation ever can be. But it is the product of such God-guided scholarship that it is practically perfect. Its errors are very few and very minor. So few and so minor that it is difficult to point out any readings in the King James Version that are certainly erroneous. Perhaps not too many more than the following may safely be identified as such…
In 1970 David O. Fuller issued a popular book which he edited by the title Which Bible? which is still in print. It included chapters by ten other contributing authors, some of whom have already been quoted in this document (Wilkinson, Martin, and Hills). Page 23 of the 5th edition (1975) answers the question as to whether the book taught that the KJV was inspired or inerrant:
No reasonable person imagines that the translators were infallible or that their work was perfect…
In this year Peter Ruckman launched an influential book still in print by the title The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence. Ruckman presented the KJV as inerrant with such statements as the following on p. 154:
The A.V. is the crystal-clear, exact, precise reproduction of the originals and it is so excruciatingly exact and dynamic and “living,” that Modern Scholarship just simply can’t stand it.
In order to justify teaching that the KJV was an exact reproduction of the originals, in this book Ruckman taught on pp. 125-126 that the Holy Spirit inserted things without the knowledge of the translators:
But the careful student of the scripture, through long familiarity with the A.V. text, has been surprised more than once by the marvelous undesigned “coincidences” which God the Holy Spirit has inserted in the Bible, without the awareness of the translating committee.
Ruckman also degraded the importance of Greek manuscripts with such statements as this one on p. 137:
Where the Greek says one thing and the A.V. says another, throw out the Greek.
In this year Bruce Cummons issued his book The Foundation and Authority of the Word of God. In repeated places in the book he taught that the KJV was infallible or inspired. On p. 39 he wrote:
I have never had any doubt about this Bible, the KJV, being God’s infallible Word.
On p.46 he wrote:
I believe we have an infallible Bible. I believe that Bible to be the Authorized Version, or the King James Version.
Was Dr. Cummons at least partially influenced by Ruckman? On this there is no need to speculate, as on p. 46 he referred to Ruckman as a “thorough student of manuscript evidence.” Of the books in his bibliography that dealt with the KJV controversy, the only one listed that taught the KJV was inerrant was Ruckman’s book The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence.
1973 was also the year in which Herbert Evans printed his booklet Dear Dr. John Where is my Bible? A written Dispute with John R. Rice. On p. 13 Evans wrote:
This in no way implys [sic] that the copyist were inspired nor the translators. This in no way implys [sic] there were no copyist errors or bad translations. It does imply accuracy to the extent that we now have an infallible Bible in our language. By infallible I mean 1. Free from error 2. Absolutely reliable; sure; that cannot be mistaken.
In various places he openly defends Peter Ruckman and even challenges Dr. Rice to have a debate with Ruckman.
Remember Dick Cimino whom we quoted in 1952 writing that the KJV was simply more accurate than the RSV? Notice the change in tune on p. II of the foreword to his 1974 book The Book: Which Bible Does God Use:
This implies that the God honored, Time tested, Life changing, Fruit bearing (for over 360 years) Authorized 1611 King James Version is only “reliable.”
The following statement from p. 122 explains the difference in attitude:
I submit the following, thanks to (Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Dr. P.S. Ruckman), ‘NO ONE HAS EVER PROVED YET THAT THE KING JAMES 1611 AUTHORIZED VERSION is NOT the perfect, exact translation of the Original Manuscripts…
However, Cimino did not declare the KJV inspired outright, as evidenced in p. 146:
We do not say the King James 1611 Authorized Version is inspired – it is GOD-GUIDED!
In 1975 Donald Clarke published Bible Version Manual. On p. 133 of his last chapter he placed the following words in capital letters, indicating that he believed the KJV was inspired: “Accept and preach the King James Bible as the inspired and preserved Word of God!!!!!!” Although no bibliography was included in the book, a couple of the footnotes demonstrate some reliance on Ruckman.
Sabotage? is a comic-style booklet written by Jack Chick and published by Chick Publications with a 1979 copyright. It contains some terminology used by Ruckman, such as repeated references to “the Alexandrian cult.” On p. 22 of an edition purchased in 2009 he recommends Ruckman’s book Manuscript Evidence, and lists the address, phone number and website of Ruckman’s bookstore. His pocket-size pamphlet The Attack with a 1985 copyright reveals that Jack Chick believes in an infallible KJV, although he also believes in an infallible and inspired Textus Receptus, which is not Ruckman’s exact view.
In the December issue of Ruckman’s Bible Believers’ Bulletin a front page article appeared by the title “My Stand on the Inerrancy of the King James Version.” It was by David O. Fuller, whom a few years earlier had edited a book we quoted earlier that affirmed in no uncertain terms that “No reasonable person imagines that the translators were infallible or that their work was perfect…” What prompted the change? The fact that the article appeared in Ruckman’s own paper is significant. Also, Fuller himself wrote a positive review of Ruckman’s Job commentary (Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Oct 1978). Ruckman’s 1990 book The Last Grenade reveals that Fuller had encouraged Ruckman in personal letters (see pp. 79, 146, 166). Here is a brief excerpt of a letter from Fuller to Ruckman: “I have been encouraged and inspired by a number of your books, especially the one on Manuscript Evidence. (The Last Grenade, p. 166)
In 1981 Homer Massey printed the booklet Where is the Word of God Today? On p. 12 he affirms:
Our position is that there are no “errors” or “mistakes” in the King James English Version of the Bible.
On that very same page he recommends a book by Peter Ruckman:
Dr. Ruckman also recognizes that there are problem texts and has written a lengthy book dealing with them.
In the Aug-Sep. issue of The Flaming Torch of which he was co-editor at the time, Evangelist Don Edwards printed an article by the title “Will the Real Fundamentalist Please Stand Up?” On p. 17 he affirms:
I believe the King James Bible is the preserved, inerrant, infallible Word of God, without qualification.
Is it a coincidence that the very next paragraph is all about Ruckman? Read on:
Now, you need not come around or go off someplace and say, “Brother Edwards is a Ruckmanite.” I believed what I believe about the Word of God before Ruckman ever got saved. I was preaching out of this very book right here before Ruckman ever got saved. I count him as a friend. I know him and he speaks to me when I see him, which means very little. But nevertheless, I know Peter Ruckman. I have his books. I know what he believes and I know what he doesn’t believe about many things, but what I believe about the Word of God has nothing at all to do with Peter Ruckman. I believed it before I ever heard of Peter Ruckman. I believe that the Word of God is this book right here – this King James Bible – the inspired Word of God.
My question is—if he believed that the KJV was inspired and inerrant before hearing of Ruckman, where are the articles he wrote proving this?
The Authorized King James Bible Defended was written by Chester Murray in 1983. Within the first eight pages he is quoting Ruckman approvingly. On p. 95 he goes as far as to refer to the KJV as the “dictated” Word of God:
When once a person accepts the KJ Bible as his Inerrant Inspired (or Dictated) Word of God and the Holy Spirit makes It to come alive to him so as to bring faith unto Salvation and he feasts on the Word, then, through higher education or the use of perversions, or any other reason he questions the KJ Bible he is lost – he has nothing solid to follow;
In 1983 Chick Publications issued Let’s Weigh the Evidence by Barry Burton. The introduction states the following:
We believe that the Bible (KJV) is the Word of God, and we also believe that God has preserved it perfect for us today. It was not just perfect in the original autographs.
The bibliography listed four authors, with Ruckman’s books being the only ones listed that teach the KJV is infallible.
Famine in the Land was written by Norman Ward with a preface by Bob Steward. A typical statement on the inerrancy of the KJV is found on p. 40:
…the A.V. 1611. It is the pure, perfect, inerrant and infallible word of God.
On p. 46 the author recommended one of Ruckman’s books, and there were more books by Ruckman in the bibliography than by any other author. There was also a list of “fine organizations” on the last page, with Ruckman’s bookstore at the top of the list.
In this year Sam Gipp, a graduate of Ruckman’s Bible institute, published his book An Understandable History of the Bible with a foreword by David O. Fuller. On p. 170 Gipp declared:
Every argument for inerrant, infallible inspiration applies also for inerrant, infallible preservation. It is the same God! If a believer in perfect inspiration says that God overpowered the writers’ ability to make a mistake, the believer in perfect preservation can also state that God overpowered the translators’ ability to make a mistake.
Gipp quoted and defended Ruckman throughout the book. The last concluding sentence in his book affirms:
Thank you, Lord, for your perfect Bible, the Authorized King James Bible.
1988 was the year that Bob Steward published Removing the Landmarks. He clearly implied KJV inerrancy with the following statement on p. 15:
Those learned men that our Lord providentially put together to give us our Authorized King James Bible were better qualified than was Scofield to deal with the text. Do not be fooled by anything in print that takes issue with the text of our Bible. Change not a paragraph, not a sentence, not a word.
Had Steward been influenced by Ruckman? On page 17 he quoted from one of his books, and defended him as follows:
Please do not give me emotional arguments against D. Ruckman. Some are greatly offended at him, saying that he is very abrasive with those who do not agree with him. I care not one whit about such matters. We are dealing with the Word of God and this man likely has as much or more understanding on this subject as most men in our day.
In 1989 Samuel Gipp printed The Answer Book: A Helpbook for Christians. My 4th printing edition states as follows on p. 62:
God could easily have divinely directed the King James translators without their active knowledge.
Over and over again in his book Gipp emphasizes that the KJV is perfect. For example, on p. 95 he answers the question
If the King James really is perfect, how can so many preachers and scholars be wrong about it?
with the following answer:
The majority is ALWAYS wrong.
Gipp demonstrates eagerness to promote Ruckman’s position by dedicating no less than three pages to his defense.
In 1989 Robert Sargent published the first edition of his massive work English Bible: Manuscript Evidence. The concluding lecture makes it clear that he believes in the inerrancy of the KJV. For example, on p. 324 of the 2001 edition Sargent objects to the statement:
The translators of the Authorized, King James Version did not think their work was perfect.
No doubt, they were unaware of what God was doing through them. Keep in mind that the preface is not Scripture.
On p. 11 in his lists of “Helpful Texts” he includes two books by Peter Ruckman, including The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence. It should be noted that in the introduction to his “Helpful Texts” list he states that he does not endorse all books that are on the list (perhaps because some on the list gave an overview of manuscripts and English Bible history, but did not portray the KJV in a positive light).
In 1989 Michael F. Breckinridge published a book by the title The Case for the King James Bible. It was obvious that he had the KJV in mind when he made the following statement on p. iv of the preface:
IF GOD mandated the translation work, if He commissioned and ordained it, and if his Holy Spirit hovered over the work, THEN WHY COULDN’T THE RESULT BE AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL?
In a reference to Acts 12:4, he states the following on p. 4:
This is a beautiful example of more information and more insight coming from the English than from the Greek.
After referring to “advanced revelations from the AV 1611 text,” he affirms the following on p. 36:
The words in a King James Bible have been supernaturally put together with a precision at least equal to that of the cells and tissues in a human body. One might also think of a King James Bible as the most accurate and expensive (blood of the martyrs!) timepiece in the entire world.
Did Ruckman influence the author? The question is easily answered, as the Bibliography lists no less than 10 items by Peter Ruckman. Also the Acknowledgments page had the following to say:
This booklet is largely based on the works of Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, who more than anyone else has shown me the glories of the King James Bible, and whose expositions of scripture have been a blessing to my soul. Many, many thanks to him, and to the Pensacola Bible Institute, which he heads.
In 1992 James Son printed a book by the title The New Athenians. Notice what he wrote on p. 25:
I believe that the Authorized Version is the inspired, infallible, inerrant, immutable, pure word of God to English speaking people. (I not only believe in DOUBLE inspiration [which the NEW Athenians reject], but, also, I believe in TRIPLE INSPIRATION. I believe that God not only inspired the writers in the original languages, but also the New Testament writers when they TRANSLATED the Hebrew passages into the Greek, and the translators of the Authorized Version as they made their selection of English words.)
Ruckman endorsed this controversial book in his Bible Believers’ Bulletin (March 2008, p. 16). There is no need to speculate whether Son was influence by Ruckman, as he praised Ruckman numerous times throughout the book, including in the acknowledgement page.
In 1993 William (Bill) Grady published Final Authority. His view is easily discernable in the following quote from p. 21:
After denouncing your Authorized Version as uninspired, the double-talking Nicolaitane will then quote from it to prove that some non-existent papers were inspired before they disappeared!
Who had influenced Grady? 14 years later on the video sermon Seven Signs of Pseudo King James Onlyism at gradypublications.com he reveals who it was:
In 1988 Jack Patterson gave me a book called Manuscript Evidence by Dr. Peter Ruckman. I began reading it because no one else could give me any answers. And the longer I read, the more convicted I got and I got shook up. And then out of nowhere it dawned on me that that King James Bible was the Word of God based on all the voluminous material, documented material on that particular book. … In 1992 the Lord led me to write my book Final Authority. Dr. Ruckman advised me ‘Whatever you do son, don’t put my name in the book and don’t quote me in the book.’ … And I listened to him.
Could it be that some other authors influenced by Ruckman are also intentionally not bringing him up so this fact is hidden from their readers?
In 1993 Gail Riplinger issued her book New Age Versions. On p. 510 of the 4th printing she wrote: “It appears the case for the inspiration of the KJV is mounting.” On p. 507 she demonstrates that she does not think as highly of Greek manuscripts compared to translations: “It is obvious that the word of God in its perfect state does not reside in any one of the ancient Greek manuscripts extant today.” Now compare on p. 509 how she objects to the statement “No translation can be a perfect reproduction of the original” by accusing the author of that statement of being “like doubting Thomas.” On the last page of her book she recommends a number of bookstores, including the one run by Peter Ruckman’s church, which exists for the purpose of distributing his books.
In her other book In Awe of Thy Word she revealed her Ruckman-like beliefs clearly in the following quote on p. 565:
A fog of emotional steam, that carries no substance, precedes comments such as, “I don’t believe the KJV corrects ‘the original Greek’ or ‘I don’t believe the KJV corrects the ‘Majority Text’ or the ‘Textus Receptus.’ … There existed a true original Greek (i.e. Majority Text, Textus Receptus). It is not in print and never will be, because it is unnecessary. No one on the planet speaks first century Koine Greek, so God is finished with it.
For years she has been distributing select Ruckman books along with her own which can be verified at her website avpublications.com.
In 1993 Timothy Morton published Which Translation Should You Trust? In the conclusion on p. 68 Morton wrote the following:
From the material above (and more like it) and the witness of the Holy Spirit, we are firmly convinced that any edition of the Authorized King James Version of 1611 (apart from typographical errors, of course) is God’s pure, inerrant, infallible word;
The bibliography listed several works by Peter Ruckman, and it is also significant that the third printing of the book which I possess was published by the bookstore operated by Ruckman’s own church.
In 1993 Pastor Mickey Carter issued his book Things that are Different are not the Same. On p. 74 we read:
The King James Version is the plenary, verbal inspired Word of God. Word for word, the very minute details (jots and tittles) were God-breathed into man, who wrote it.
Was Pastor Carter influenced by Dr. Ruckman? Very likely, as in his 2003 Romans commentary p. 269, Ruckman referred to Carter as one of “my friends.”
In 1995 Paul Heaton published What About Those Italicized Words? The second edition (2002) gives the following warning in the conclusion on p. 29:
If ANY word, or words, in the Authorized King James 1611 Bible are NOT the inerrant, preserved, inspired (oops) words, of God, then pray tell where is that PERFECT Bible of which you speak?
The booklet shows some dependence on Ruckman, such a recommendation of further study of his Christian Handbook of Manuscript Evidence on p. 11.
1995 marks the year in which Thomas Holland wrote A Critique of James R. White’s Book “The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations?” He felt that Peter Ruckman had been wrongly represented as an extremist in the book he reviewed, and he starts off with a personal letter to Ruckman. Towards the end of the letter on p. 8 he laments:
Mr. White not only misrepresented you, but also all who hold to the Authorized Version as God’s perfect and preserved word.
In 1995 Michael O’Neal wrote Do We Have the Word of God?, which he dedicated to Peter Ruckman. On the dedication page he also has the following interesting statement: “Scriptures in this book are from the Authorized Version 1611 -KJV- and are used by permission of the Author – Eph. 6:17.” Alluding to this statement, he writes on p. 20: “You see, I know the AUTHOR of the AUTHORized version!!” In the last paragraph of the same page he continues: “Put in the front of your book, ‘This book is dedicated to the Author of the King James Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ.’ To some people, that’s heresy.”
1996 marks the year in which Roy Branson wrote KJV 1611: Perfect! A Conviction, Not a Preference. Many extreme statements can easily be found therein, such as:
Like a delinquent carving on the Mona Lisa, those who use Greek and Hebrew aids are theological delinquents… (p. 27) No Greek or Hebrew text will be as pure as the English words in your KJV. (p. 97)
Who could have influenced him to write such extreme things? There is no need to speculate, as the author dedicates several pages to defending Ruckman. At one point he laments that Ruckman is so harsh and wonders if such language is necessary, but he still defends Ruckman and even acts like he doesn’t understand why:
This, by the way, is meant as no criticism of Dr. Ruckman. For whatever reasons, however, he is much hated and continually reviled by militant Rummagers. (He freely reviles them, too). (pp. 42-43)
In 1997 James Melton printed a booklet by the title Fighting Back! A Handy Reference Guide for King James Bible Believers. On p. 3 in a list of questions for those who disagree with him on the KJV issue, the author asks:
Remembering that the Holy Spirit is the greatest Teacher (John 16:12-15; I John 2:27), who taught you that the King James Bible was not infallible, the Holy Spirit or man?
Reliance on Ruckman is evidenced by the fact that he included more books by Ruckman than any other author in his “Recommended Reading” list at the end of the booklet. In his biographical sketch of Peter Ruckman in his “Great Soldiers of the Cross” series, he praised Ruckman as “one of the most effective preachers of the twentieth century.”
In 1998 Ed DeVries issued the first edition of his book The Word of God Divinely Inspired and Inerrantly Preserved. In his 2000 edition he ends the book with the following two sentences on p. 92: “Thank God! He has given us an inerrant copy of His Word – The KING JAMES BIBLE!”
In the very first page of the introduction he lists Ruckman as being one of the “greater minds.” In his “bibliography and suggested reading” he lists two books by Peter Ruckman. A number of years back Ed DeVries had a News-Of-Interest newsletter distributed by e-mail. I was forwarded one of his e-mail newsletters on January 10, 1999 that I kept all these years which bore the subject line “OH SHUT UP ABOUT DR. RUCKMAN.”
In 1999 Dr. Solomon Aordkian wrote Honoring the King James Bible. The very first sentence in the book affirms:
The Authorized Version, (AV), King James Bible (KJB) is without error.
The bibliography mentioned literature by Ruckman, in addition to books by a graduate of his Bible institute (Sam Gipp) as well as a former professor of his institute (Laurence Vance). The bibliography also mention two audiotapes with no author listed that have the Ruckman buzzword “Alexandrian Cult” in the title.
In 2000 John Adair printed Sitting in Judgment of the Word of God. In the conclusion of the last appendix we find the following extreme view:
The King James Bible corrects: History; Science; Philosophy; Governments; Religions; Society; Greek and Hebrew texts; and Original autographs.
A cursory examination of the book reveals some reliance on Ruckman, such as on p. 46:
According to Dr. Peter Ruckman, the spots of the leopard are the key to the mark of the beast: a kiss…
The Flaming Torch website archives of previous articles lists an article from the year 2000 by Walter Beebe by the title “Why did I Become a KJV Fan? (Again!)” He contends for the inspiration of the KJV in the following sentence:
The more I studied, the more I compared, the more I checked out the translators, the more I became convinced that the KJV was the inspired and preserved Word of God that God had allowed the English-speaking world to have for hundreds of years!
The very paragraph previous to the above quote, he had the following words of praise for Peter Ruckman:
If I never thank Dr. Peter Ruckman for anything else, I must thank him for the fact that he made me think! He challenged me to ask myself the searching question, “Did I have the real, inspired, Word of God anywhere?”
The Geocentric Bible was written by Gordon Bane. I am uncertain as to when the first edition of of The Geocentric Bible was first circulated. I have a third edition published in 2004 referrred to as The Geocentric Bible 3 in which it was combined with A Geocentric Primer by Gerardus Bouw. While not denying that the originals were inspired by the Holy Spirit, on p. 215 Bane affirms that “The Holy Spirit inspired only the KJV.” On p. 218, in what appears to be a reference to the KJV according to the context, we find “The second inspiration became the authority and was superior to the first.” Who had influenced Bane’s views? There is no need to speculate, as on pp. 247-248 after referring to two of Ruckman’s books approvingly, he adds, “I’ve read about 20 of his books.”
In 2006 Jack Mundey published Corruptions in the New King James Bible. Between pages 58-59 he wrote as follows:
If you don’t have a Bible that’s inspired, then my friend your [sic] LOST and still on the road to HELL. … So let’s face the facts, if only the “original” writings and letters were “inspired”–then we’re all on the road to hell, and there is NO HOPE, NO GOD and NO SALVATION!
Although there is no bibliography in the book, there is no doubt that Ruckman influenced him somewhat, as on p. 22 he recommends a commentary by Ruckman as well as one by a graduate of Ruckman’s Pensacola Bible Institute.
Undated works demonstrating Ruckman’s influence
– Pastor Paul Fedena issued We Have it in Writing in an undated booklet published by Bible For Today. On p. 3 of the second section we find the following quote:
“Any verse in the King James Version we cannot understand is due to our own ignorance. There may be problems caused by our ignorance, but there are no errors.”
Evidence of influence by Ruckman is found throughout the book. Page 1 starts with an outline that he admits in a footnote is taken from Ruckman’s book The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence.
– Considering that Alan O’Reilly’s book “O Biblios” The Book is over 350 pages in length, it is surprising that it does not mention a publication date. In the preface we find the following:
“I am particularly indebted to Dr. Ruckman’s ministry via his books and tapes for my deliverance from this cult and for belief in the AV1611 as the perfect Bible.”
The information he gives in his testimony indicates that he was not referring to a sect when he credited Ruckman with delivery from a cult, but rather what Ruckman calls “the Alexandrian Cult.”
– The King James Only Controversy – Answered was written by Pastor Hugo Schonhaar. On p. 33 he made clear his belief in an infallible KJV:
“There is only one King James Bible. The KJB is the Word of God and as such bears the stamp of infallibility.”
Schonhaar’s books reveals heavy reliance on Ruckman, even reproducing his “Creed of the Alexandrian Cult” and expounding on it. On p. 46 he clearly stated his confidence in Ruckman regarding the King James issue:
“This writer does not agree with some of Dr. Ruckman’s theology centering on the church and on the issue of divorce and remarriage but concerning the issues surrounding the King James Bible, Dr. Ruckman is usually found to be accurate and trustworthy in his assertions.”
– Around the early 1980’s Bruce Musselman, Jr. issued an undated booklet entitled Correcting the King James Bible. In point IX of his outline on p. 8 he states “Correctors of the King James Bible reject the verbal inspiration of Scripture.” This is followed by the statement “If the authorized Bible is Scripture, it is inspired of God.” His bibliography reveales reliance on Ruckman by three sources published by Ruckman’s publication ministry. This included Ruckman’s book Problem Texts as well as his monthly periodical “Bible Believers’ Bulletin, with no specific issue mentioned.
– Greg Estep issued some pamphlets that taught the KJV was infallible that appear to have been printed around the 1980’s. In Translation or Tribulation, in the conclusion on p. 31 Estep lamented that there were those who were “trying to destroy the infallibility of the King James Bible.” This particular pamphlet did not mention Ruckman specifically (it did not contain a bibliography), but the characteristic Ruckman teaching that people will be saved by faith and works in the tribulation was taught on p. 13. In another pamphlet The Fable vs. The Faith, Estep implied repeatedly that the KJV was infallible. In the bibliography he listed no less than six works by Peter Ruckman.
Others attributing the belief in an inerrant KJV to Ruckman
In a January, 1980 article on p. 2 of The Dean Burgon News Thomas Strouse warned as follows:
Evidently, Peter Ruckman holds this view, affirming that the KJV is inerrant and infallible. Certainly this is going too far theologically; inspiration is the unique process that occurred in the writing of the originals.
D.A. Waite in a recent book attributed a belief in an inerrant KJV to Ruckman:
First, I have never said I believe in “an inerrant KJV.” That is pure Ruckmanism. (A Critical Answer to Michael Sproul’s God’s Word Preserved, 2008, p. 65)
Michael O’Neal, a promoter of Peter Ruckman who has already been mentioned, summarized Ruckman’s influence on the dedication page of his book Do We Have the Word of God? in such a way that it backs up what we have already documented:
…and with deepest affection to His servant, Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, who, in my estimation, has influenced more people, directly or indirectly, to believe in the infallibility of their King James Bible, than has any other man in the 20th century;
Geneha Kim, also a promoter of Peter Ruckman, recently wrote an online article entitled History of Fundamentalism and Ruckmanism. Under the heading “Fundamentalists Owe Their KJV Stand to Dr. Ruckman” he affirmed the following:
It must be realized that if it was not for the unyielding KJV stand of Dr. Ruckman, many Fundamentalists today would not have believed in the inspiration of the King James Bible. … If there were Fundamentalists standing for the inspiration of the KJV before Dr. Ruckman, then where were they? If there were Fundamentalists before Dr. Ruckman believing in the inspiration of the KJV, then the two Fundamentalist doctorates [sic] and the previous managing editor of the Sword of the Lord would have easily known that fact and would not have made a drastic mistake of claiming Dr. Ruckman originated the idea of the inspiration of the KJV.
Ruckman himself readily recognizes his own influence
On p. 13 of the July 1995 issue of Ruckman’s Bible Believers’ Bulletin, the following keen observation is made:
4. In the 1980s it was “The AV is the best translation. We USE it, but Ruckman is a liar and a slanderer, and people who follow him are Ruckmanites.”
5. In the 1990’s it is “I believe the AV is the word of God, and I believe it is a perfect translation, but I AM NOT A RUCKMANITE! I AM NOT A RUCKMANITE! OH MY GOD, NO!! I don’t think you can correct the Greek with the English! I am not a cultist! Oh God, no! YOU DON’T HAVE TO BELIEVE WHAT RUCKMAN TEACHES TO BE A BIBLE BELIEVER!”
Notice Ruckman’s recent observation from his September 2008 Bible Believers’ Bulletin (p. 1):
The lengths to which these cowardly apostates will go in an effort to eliminate all “Ruckmanites,” while retaining what Ruckman has taught for fifty-eight years about the King James Bible, is not only ridiculous, but “awesome.”
The Christian periodical factor
The Flaming Torch
The Flaming Torch has been a Ruckman-friendly periodical over the years. In addition to articles by him, in the late 1970’s it once included Ruckman’s entire book The Mark of the Beast (spread out over several issues). When R.L. Hymers printed his book exposing Ruckmanism, there were several bitter articles in defense of Ruckman in The Flaming Torch. For example, in the July-August 1989 issue, p. 3, Brad Weniger denounced Dr. Hymers in the following terms:
I am calling upon all born-again believers, who stand for the inerrancy of the KING JAMES BIBLE, to fervently pray for your repentance and genuine salvation if the status of your mental and spiritual degeneration offers any hope.
Even though R.L. Hymers has not issued any more books or pamphlets on Ruckman since the late 1980’s, The Flaming Torch never forgave him for exposing Ruckman. As recently as the April-June 2008 issue, the Torch carried an article by Herb Evans by the title “Dr. Robert Hymers and Italicized Hanky Panky.”
The Flaming Torch over the years had articles by such men as M.H. Tabb, Harold Boyd, Don Edwards, David Cloud, Herb Evans, Bruce Musselman Jr., David Reagan, Walter Beebe, Mickey Carter, Don Jasmin, Charles Perkins, Herbert Noe, Al Lacy, Allen P. Dickerson, Daryl Coats, Laurence Vance, Jack Moorman, Roy Branson, Peter Ruckman, M.H. Reynolds, Brad Weniger, and Michael O’Neal. Some of the men mentioned ended up writing books or articles in other publications promoting the inerrancy and/or inspiration of the KJV. Could it be that this Ruckman-friendly publication had a part in shaping their views?
In the Jan-Mar 1990 issue, the editor indicated on p. 1 that The Flaming Torch has had a circulation as high as 10,000 at times.
The Baptist Bible Tribune
This was never a periodical wholly given over to Ruckmanism, but at least one issue was located in which Ruckman’s writings were promoted. This was in an article by the title “Only Two Bibles” written by Jim Ellis and published in the May 18, 1979 issue.
The Lockland Baptist Witness
This periodical carried articles by Ruckman dating back to the late 1950’s. Ruckman acknowledged John Rawling’s interest in his writings during that period. (Ruckman’s Battlefield Notes. 2003, p. 44
Other possible sources
There is likely other sources of Ruckman’s writings in the 1950’s and 1960’s that are lost to history. One newspaper in 1962 expressed Ruckman’s outreach in print as follows: “A number of his sermons have appeared in religious papers and in pamphlet form.” (“Noted Artist, Evangelist To Conduct Services Here” Panama City Herald. Panama City, FL, Sept. 21, 1962, p. 6)
Ruckman not influential?
If you do not believe Ruckman was an influential man within Fundamentalism, consider the following facts:
- Did you know that Ruckman claims to have conducted over 960 revival services in hundreds of churches?
- Did you know that Ruckman has written 111 books and booklets (exceeding 27,000 pages, not counting articles) many of which repeatedly mention his belief in an inerrant KJV given by inspiration?
- Did you know that in his earlier years Fundamentalists with name recognition such as J. Harold Sightler, John R. Rice, John Rawlings, Beauchamp Vick, Bob Gray, Lester Roloff, Mickey Carter, Hugh Pyle, Harold Henniger, Oswald Smith, Harvey Springer, Tim Lee, etc., opened doors for Ruckman (by inviting him to speak or speaking for him or with him in conferences, which could have been considered an endorsement of sorts)?
- Did you know that Ruckman claims to have recorded 3,300 hours of preaching and teaching?
- Did you know that as of 1984 Ruckman claims to have printed 900,000 copies of his books and 200,000 recordings of his preaching and teaching?
The evidence that has come to light so far points to the fact that not only was Ruckman responsible for popularizing the belief that the KJV was infallible, he was also the first person in history to write apologetic literature to any extent defending the absolute inerrancy of the KJV. There were others before him who had written material I mostly endorse about the general trustworthiness of the KJV and some were against revising or replacing it, but Ruckman took it to a previously unthinkable extreme by listing multiple reasons in detail why he believed the KJV was infallible. His view was in its infancy in his 1964 book The Bible Babel, but by 1970 he expounded on it more fully in his book Manuscript Evidence. This was followed by Problem Texts in 1980, a large book of 500 pages in which he wrote at length about his new doctrine of KJV inerrancy.
In light of the fact that there is increasingly a stigma associated with Ruckman, it has become more fashionable among some KJV defenders who believe the KJV is inerrant to state that they reached such a conclusion without reading after Ruckman. Although in various cases that may be technically true, who influenced the authors they did read after? As documented in this article, there is much literature out there by authors influenced by Ruckman, and anyone who they in turn influence would have been indirectly influenced by Ruckman, perhaps without the new person realizing it.
Once again, the fact that I document someone’s connection with Ruckman in some way does not mean they should be considered a full-fledged Ruckmanite, or that they always agreed with Ruckman on matters other than what they were quoted on.
If you would like to submit a quote to amplify this study, consider the following guidelines:
- If a legitimate quote in its proper context reveals that Ruckman was not the first person that can be documented to have influenced others to declare the KJV to be perfect, infallible or inerrant, it will not be rejected. We want the facts to speak for themselves.
- If your quote comes from a source that the webmaster cannot verify or if the context is in doubt, he may ask for a scan of the quote and the title page before listing it on this page. Do not be offended if a scan is requested. We simply want to protect the integrity of this site.
- All quotes need to be direct quotes that name who they are attributed to. For example, the statement “there have always been those who believed in the inerrancy of the KJV” is not a direct statement of someone in particular holding to the inerrancy of the KJV at any given time.
- The person quoted must be regarded as a consistent KJV defender. There are a couple quotes out there from people who were not known to consistently defend the KJV, and yet they strangely stated something in passing to the effect that the KJV was inspired or perfect. For example, Talmage once stated in passing that he regarded the KJV to be a perfect Bible, yet he frequently commented on better ways the KJV could have been translated, and was known to quote at times from the Revised Version.