Peter Ruckman on the superiority of the English language

It cannot be denied that in several ways English has gradually become a dominant language over the years. Its dominance is noteworthy in areas of technology, commerce, medicine, etc. The increased dominance of the English language around the world is undeniable. When it comes to choosing to study a second language to advance a career or for other purposes, English is a clear favorite. As we shall document, Peter Ruckman exploits this and exaggerates some of these matters for his own purposes.

It has been our observation that for those who live beyond our borders, most who manage to acquire relative fluency in English as a second language are the affluent, the college educated, and business leaders, therefore they do not reflect the vast majority of people around the world.

Ruckman makes many dogmatic theological proclamations as to God’s plan, purpose and method involving the English language, while the Bible is silent about English or future languages in prophecy.

Ruckman often refers to English as “the universal language of the end times” as if there was or ever will be such a thing:

Any advanced revelations given by the Holy Spirit are always revealed FIRST from the “King’s English” as the authoritative standard for truth, in the universal language of the “end times.” (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Feb. 2006, p. 7)

As for his claims of advanced revelations in the KJV, see our article “Ruckman’s belief in advanced revelations in the KJV.

In an attempt to bolster his claims, Ruckman will take the term “English” out of context when used in reference to “British” matters in a non-language context. Observe:

From henceforth, even the Antichrist will have to speak English (Rev. 13:1-3), because absolute time, absolute temperature, absolute location, and absolute truth are ENGLISH, and that is FINAL. (The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 122)

During a key period in history, England was at the forefront of innovation. They established standards of time and location that were adopted worldwide. However, these matters are separate from English as a language. Ruckman points out Rev. 13:1-3 as if it backed up his statement that the Antichrist will have to speak English. Read that portion for yourself and observe if there is anything remotely related to the Antichrist having to speak English:

Rev 13:1  And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 13:2  And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Rev 13:3  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 

As for absolute temperature being “English,” if Ruckman had Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit’s pioneering work in mind, Mr. Fahrenheit was not from England, but rather born in Germany and lived much of his life in the Netherlands.

It is the culmination and final work of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age in a world that is English-speaking. (22 Years of the Bible Believer’s Bulletin Vol. 1 “The AV Holy Bible” p. 79)

[the KJV]…converted the whole world into an English-speaking world (22 Years of the Bible Believer’s Bulletin Vol. 1 “The AV Holy Bible” p. 581)

Absolutely untrue. We do not dispute that English is the most spoken language when statistics of non-native English speakers who learned some English as a second language are factored in. Taking statistics that are current as of this writing, even if those who speak English as a second language are added to English natives speakers (total of 1,268,000,000 according to https://www.ethnologue.com/guides/ethnologue200) and if we consider a world population of 7,794,000,000 according to https://www.livepopulation.com/population-projections/world-2020.html) English comes to 16.6% of the world’s population. When narrowed down to those who speak English as their first or native language, it drops to third in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. https://www.ethnologue.com/guides/most-spoken-languages It should be pointed out that many are likely to prefer to read and study the Bible in their first language, because that is what they are most comfortable with and would reduce the need to turn to a dictionary to find the definition of unfamiliar terms. Granted, the statistics we just provided would not have been the exact statistics at the time of Ruckman’s writing going back several decades, but the main point should be established that "the whole world" is not "an English-speaking world" as Ruckman says when that would not be true of 86% of the world's population.

The Holy Spirit, knowing all “things to come” (see exact Scriptural confirmation in John 16:13) knew the “endtime” universal language, before the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords, so He chose ENGLISH as the vehicle and dropped Greek as a dead language, permanently, and dropped Hebrew temporarily (see Zeph. 3:9) until the Great Tribulation. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin. June 2006, p. 16)

When Ruckman makes a doubtful statement followed by a Scriptural reference without quoting or exegeting the text, it is our experience that the reference is typically weak or the support is non-existent. Read the verses that Ruckman didn’t bother to quote or exegete to see if they are "exact Scriptural confirmation" of what he is claiming:

John 16:13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 

Zephaniah 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent. 

The term “language” from Zephaniah 3:9 is defined in Hebrew by the KJV translators in the margin of their original 1611 translation as: “language: Heb. lip.” The context is not of prophesy regarding a future Bible translation, and the language is not named. Even Ruckman himself does not go as far as labeling English as “a pure language,” although he seems to indicate it is a reference to how somehow God “dropped Hebrew temporarily.”

From 1611 to 1997 (plus?), the source of revelation will be (and has been) ENGLISH. (Ruckman, Peter. The Two Raptures. 1996, Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, p. 7)

Ruckman has nothing beyond his fallible opinion to prove this. The source of revelation for us after the apostolic age is the Holy Spirit ministering to us from His Word, initially written in Greek and Hebrew, and subsequently translated in hundreds of languages. God is not limited by languages.

…the AV was translated into more than one hundred times as many languages as ANY GREEK BIBLE WAS EVER TRANSLATED, why would you put more confidence in the Greek than the English? (Ruckman, Peter. The Alexandrian Cult. Part Six, 1981, p. 30)

As usual, Ruckman’s statement was not backed up by any documentation. There have been cases in church history in which a missionary—due to the pressing need—undertook a translation from the vernacular into a new language without the aid of Greek and Hebrew. However translating the New Testament from Greek and Hebrew has been the standard, rather than the exception. This can be gleaned from such books as A history of the translations which have been made of the Scriptures from the earliest to the present age and The Bible of every land. Notwithstanding, a missionary’s native language has not always been English, so the KJV was not always used in translation work. Sometimes the use of a vernacular translation (such as the KJV) in the process of translation was primarily to consult how certain terms difficult to render from Greek or Hebrew were translated into other languages

Ruckman is notorious for rapidly switching back and forth, such as including references to “English” when it did not relate to the language when speaking of English as a language. In the above quote, notice how Ruckman referred to the “Greek Bible,” and not the Greek NT. He could have felt he was honest by having the OT/NT combination in mind, because it would be highly unusual to translate the Old Testament from Greek into new languages (except the Septuagint for academic purposes), and it is more likely that a missionary would translate the Old Testament from the AV more often than the former.

Ruckman’s extreme views on the English Bible versus other languages are reflected in a number of those who have been under his influence. Ruckman’s associate pastor Brian Donovan (now the pastor of the church after Ruckman’s death) has made his share of controversial statements regarding English versus foreign languages:

Any effort to translate the Bible into other languages will be right if it comes from the KJV and wrong when it does not. It is that simple. (Donovan, Brian. “Our Amazing English Language” Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Vol. 18, No. 4, April, 1994, p. 20)

Some years ago Donovan put out a series of recordings on a CD by the title “Our Amazing English Bible.” From our notes upon listening to it, he made fun of other languages, especially German. He stated German sounded like a “faggot” language. He said God could not use Spanish because, like Latin, the language is tied into the Catholic Church.

The position of Sam Gipp, a graduate of Ruckman’s PBI, fares no better. His view is that for a Russian “to get to the truth of the Word of God,” he would “have to learn English.” Here are the exact words provided by the program that sponsored the event in which these words were spoken:

Ankerberg: Why do you believe, Sam, that the King James Version of the Bible is the only perfect translation today, and what’s more, that if these guys were going to do a translation into Swedish or Ethiopian or some other language, that they’re not to use any of the Greek texts, but they’re to use the 1611 English text to translate those other versions? Why?

Dr. Samuel C. Gipp: The first reason, of course, picking the Bible above all books that are called “holy books,” I accept the Bible academically because of fulfilled prophecy. Now, when I give the Bible that inspiration from God, then I take its statements on itself as far as inspiration and preservation. Now, at that point, it’s got to become an argument of faith, not academics. In other words, you’re going to find places where the King James Bible doesn’t agree with even the Textus Receptus or something like that, so I believe the King James Bible is the preserved Word of God. I don’t call it the “inspired” Word of God, I called it the “preserved” Word of God. And English is, without a doubt, the language of the world. It is the language of missions in this world today.

Ankerberg: So if a guy is in Russia and he really wants to get to the truth of the Word of God, would he have to learn English?

Gipp: Yes.

Ankerberg: Okay. …

(https://jashow.org/articles/the-king-james-controversy-revisited-program-1/#.5Bexcerpt.5D)

Ruckman was not always consistent in his views on foreign Bible translations, and some quotes could be found that would seemingly contradict Gipp’s position. However, Ruckman is on record* defending Gipp’s controversial statement. Ruckman responded in his paper to an article by D.A. Waite strongly criticizing Gipp’s statement about how a Russian would have to learn English “to get to the truth of the Word of God.” In the following quote Ruckman quotes Waite quoting Gipp, but notice Ruckman’s response which we have placed in bold:

[accusation of Waite against Gipp] The King James Bible Should be the “ONLY” Bible in any language of the world. This view also uses “ONLY” in the literal sense of ‘solely and exclusively . . . This view was taught by Dr. Samuel Gipp on the John Ankerberg telecast in the early Fall of 1995. He stated that for a Russian ‘to get the truth of the Word of God,’ he would have to learn English and read it in the King James Bible. This view also has no foundation or support in the Bible, and is therefore false and heretical.

[Ruckman’s entire response:] The verse that disproves that is what, Dr. Waite? It isn’t there. ("Donald Waite—still on the Fence." Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Oct. 1998, pp. 9, 17)

Gipp’s view is utterly absurd and extremely impractical. It is a mockery to the scores of missionaries who have dedicated and endured many years of hardship and toil to learn and perfect their knowledge of a new language in order to more effectively reach lost precious souls with a Bible in the native language of the people.

In spite of all of Ruckman’s exaggerations about the English language, since approximately 84% of the world's population does not know English even as a second language, the missionaries task has not changed. There is still a dire need to translate the Word of God into all the many languages that do not yet have the entire Bible in their language. Missionaries still need to be trained to speak the language of the people they are called to reach.

*The author of the article in Ruckman’s Bible Believers’ Bulletin is unnamed, but how the author addressed accusations that were directed at Ruckman and the writer’s unmistakable style and comebacks he is known for leave no doubt that the author was Peter Ruckman himself writing in his own paper.

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