Ruckman is proud of his “Creed of the Alexandrian Cult,” which is evident by his boasting that he has listed it in virtually every issue of the Bible Believers’ Bulletin since it was first issued in the 1970’s. He uses it to try to “prove” that those who do not follow his teachings on the KJV close enough are members of this “cult.” However, there are some inconsistencies in Ruckman’s position regarding the “creed” which we will attempt to demonstrate in this article first.
Ruckman likes to include as many people he dislikes as possible in his fantasy of this so-called Alexandrian Cult, regardless of whether they strongly prefer the KJV or even if they use it consistently. Observe:
… Alexandrian Cult”). All the modern members of the cult (Shelton Smith, John R. Rice, Bob Jones Jr., Bob Jones III, Clarence Sexton … (Bible Believers’ Bulletin. June 2009, p. 5)
"…every "recognized" church historian and Christian "scholar" is a member of a CULT. This cult is the Alexandrian Cult of North Africa, and its tentacles stretch from Origen (184-254 A.D.) to John R. Rice and the faculty members of every "recognized" Christian school in the world. (Peter Ruckman, The Alexandrian Cult. Part One, 1978, p. 6).
The Alexandrian Cult stretches from Origen to Bob Jones, III, with a continual string of ‘high priests,” con-men, quick change artists, and neophytes. (Ruckman, Peter. The book of Minor Prophets Vol. 1 Hosea-Nahum. 1978, 1984 reprint, p. 152)
And the Alexandrian Cult has as many Evangelicals and Fundamentalists in it as it has Liberals and Neo-Evangelicals. (Ruckman, Peter. The book of Minor Prophets Vol. 1 Hosea-Nahum. 1978, 1984 reprint, p. 258)
Although without the designation “Alexandrian Cult,” Ruckman proceeded to label the following men as cultists:
Cultists…Matthew Henry…A.T. Robertson, Machen, Warfield, Robert Dick Wilson, Gleason Archer (Ruckman, Peter. The Minor Prophets. 1978, 1984, p. 466)
All members of the Alexandrian Cult are “cultists” and all follow “the creed of the cult.” (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Feb. 1994, p. 3)
In spite of Ruckman bragging about coming up with 100 new teachings, (Ruckman, Peter. Alexandrian Cult, Part Eight, 1981, p. 28) he does not believe it is right for others to label this new teaching we call Ruckmanism as a cult (Ruckman, Peter. God is Love. 1998 reprint, p. 112). However, Ruckman does not treat others as he wants to be treated, and has even placed some KJV defenders he did not like (such as Bruce Lackey) in his fictitious “Alexandrian cult.” (Ruckman, Peter. King James Onlyism versus Scholarship Onlyism. p. 3)
Since such men as Hills and Burgon who Ruckman holds in fairly high regard in most of his writings did not believe the KJV or the Textus Receptus was inerrant, and by implication not the final absolute authority, they would also technically fall into Ruckman’s primary criteria for membership in his imaginary Alexandrian Cult. But he does not apply his Alexandrian Creed to them. Why this double standard? Could it be that he gives them a pass because they lived in an era in which when they began to write they did not “benefit” from Ruckman’s illumination? As to John Burgon, Sam Gipp interestingly admits: "Because he is so far in the past we Bible believers embrace him as a friend rather than an adversary." (The 2006 Geneva Bible: A Trojan Horse. 2008, p. 5)
Ruckman in all his writing has not shown explicitly what the final authority was between the time the originals passed off the scene and the emergence of the KJV in 1611. Ruckman demands a final authority that “anyone can read, teach, preach, or handle.” Therefore, by default everyone since the era in which the originals passed off the scene until people began to believe the KJV was the absolute authority would also have to be members of the Alexandrian Cult to remain consistent. It is common in foreign lands not to look upon a translation as the final authority, and many sincere believers in foreign lands who do not know English and have never even heard of the KJV, would technically fit Ruckman’s criteria for a member of this “cult.” Ruckman is clearly uncomfortable with the question of final authority for other languages and also for before 1611, calling those who dare ask about such matters “idiots.” (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin Reprint #7 Strictly Personal. 2004, p. 243)
The creed refuted one point at a time
1. There is no final authority but God.
As to point number one in the “creed,” the conservative wing of those who Ruckman places in the category of the Alexandrian Cult believe that God provided a final authority in the form of the original manuscripts. They would believe something to the effect that God’s Word is an extension of His own authority, which is always final.
2. Since God is a Spirit, there is no final authority that can be seen, heard, read, felt, or handled.
3. Since all books are material, there is no book on this earth that is the final and absolute authority on what is right and what is wrong: what constitutes truth and what constitutes error.
Without the original manuscripts, Ruckman paints a bleak scenario unless we accept his teaching of a doubly-inspired, Greek-and-Hebrew-correcting, advanced-revelating translation over 1,500 years after Revelation was penned. Because Ruckman does not provide for a specific, tangible "final and absolute authority" during the large undeniable gap between the passing of the originals and the revealing of the KJV, his premise collapses and is shown to be based on a false line of reasoning.
However, before 1611 there was no sense of a lack of absolutes or authority, even though no translation was labeled a "final and absolute authority" (with a possible exception of the Latin Vulgate among some Catholics). The fact that believers before 1611 did not sense a lack of authority can be noticed in many of their writings on the Scriptures which have survived to this day. An example during this period is William Fulke, who died in 1589. He wrote A Defence of the Sincere and True Translations of the Holy Scriptures into the English Tongue, and Confutation of the Rhemish Testament. An example of no lack of authority can be detected in just one sentence: "The authority of the holy scriptures with us is more worth than the opinion of all the men in the world." (Fulke, William. A Defence of the Sincere and True Translations of the Holy Scriptures into the English Tongue. 1583, 1843; p. 523)
4. There WAS a series of writings one time which, IF they had all been put into a BOOK as soon as they were written the first time, WOULD HAVE constituted an infallible and final authority by which to judge truth and error.
In point four of the Alexandrian Creed, Ruckman tries to degrade the originals by making a big deal about the likelihood that the originals were never together in one book. However, it was not necessary for the various portions of Scripture to have been placed into a book to become an infallible and final authority. Since Scripture does not contradict itself, each portion was infallible and the final authority alongside one another, even without all the portions being placed together in one volume. This question seems to be a diversionary tactic regarding a mere technicality.
5. However, this series of writings was lost, and the God who inspired them was unable to preserve their content through Bible-believing Christians at Antioch (Syria), where the first Bible teachers were (Acts 13:1), and where the first missionary trip originated (Acts 13:1-52), and where the word “Christian” originated (Acts 11:26).
In point five Ruckman accuses those (who are not in his camp) of believing that God is unable to preserve his Word. However, no Christian would believe that God is unable to do something (Luke 18:27), unless it was against his nature or his own Word. This statement is as unfair as would be accusing Ruckmanites of believing in a God who is incapable of providing a perfect Bible printed without typos or unable to translate the Bible into all the languages of the world. The disagreement for many is not whether God promised to preserve his Word or was unable to do it, but rather the specific details of the method, extent and location of preservation. Good people disagree on the specifics. No one to whom Ruckman applies this “creed” would agree with point five as written, except possibly some modernists.
6. So, God chose to ALMOST preserve them through Gnostics and philosophers from Alexandria, Egypt, even though God called His Son OUT of Egypt (Matthew 2), Jacob OUT of Egypt (Genesis 49), Israel OUT of Egypt (Exodus 15), and Joseph’s bones OUT of Egypt (Exodus 13).
On point number six, as to God “almost” fulfilling his promise, no thinking Christian would use such terminology. As mentioned previously, the disagreement for many is not whether God promised to preserve his Word or was unable to do it but rather the specific details of the method, extent and location of preservation.
7. So, there are two streams of Bibles: the most accurate—though, of course, there is no final, absolute authority for determining truth and error: it is a matter of “preference”—are the Egyptian translations from Alexandria, Egypt, which are “almost the originals,” although not quite.
Ruckman has slanderously placed several in his imaginary cult who have taken public positions contrary to translations based on Alexandrian manuscripts being “most accurate” or “almost the originals” (such as Shelton Smith, Clarence Sexton, and Bruce Lackey). Also, most who study Greek New Testament manuscripts believe in more than two manuscript “streams” or families.
8. The most inaccurate translations were those that brought about the German Reformation (Luther, Zwingli, Boehler, Zinzendorf, Spener, etc.) and the worldwide missionary movement of the English-speaking people: the Bible that Sunday, Torrey, Moody, Finney, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Wesley, and Chapman used.
On point number eight, Ruckman has the members of the "Alexandrian Cult" believing that Reformation Bibles are less accurate than modern translations. It is true that those of us who believe that those Bibles from the Reformation era based on the Textus Receptus are more accurate than modern Bibles are in the minority today, but Ruckman places some who hold to that minority belief in his Alexandrian Cult. This shows that among other reasons already mentioned, some whom he unfairly places in this "cult" disagree with most points of this “creed.”
9. But we can “tolerate” these if those who believe in them will tolerate US. After all, since there is NO ABSOLUTE AND FINAL AUTHORITY that anyone can read, teach, preach, or handle, the whole thing is a matter of “PREFERENCE.” You may prefer what you prefer, and we will prefer what we prefer; let us live in peace, and if we cannot agree on anything or everything, let us all agree on one thing: THERE IS NO FINAL, ABSOLUTE, WRITTEN AUTHORITY OF GOD ANYWHERE ON THIS EARTH.
Ruckman’s Creed of the Alexandrian Cult culminates with the following sentence often in capital letters for effect: “THERE IS NO FINAL, ABSOLUTE, WRITTEN AUTHORITY OF GOD ANYWHERE ON THIS EARTH.” No thinking conservative Christian would use such choice of words to describe the present situation–in which the original manuscripts are no longer with us–without clarification. Even though we do not have the final authority in our midst in the form of the original manuscripts, we have an adequate authority derived from them. If that were not the case, the KJV translators could not have been able to produce their work. Ruckman in all his prolific writings has not told us specifically where the “final, absolute, written authority of God” was between the time the original manuscripts passed off the scene and 1611. Could it be that everyone during that time belonged to what Ruckman calls “the Alexandrian Cult?”
The biggest weakness in Ruckman’s continual designation of the term “final authority” for the KJV is its technical meaning. Final authority means exactly that; final. It means nothing can supersede or replace it. If the KJV is the final authority, it would mean there was no final authority before 1611. To believe in the KJV as the final authority would actually mean that the original manuscripts were not the final authority, because a true final authority can never be replaced. It is true that the KJV is a more practical authority for English speakers (because of its availability and the language it’s in), but to designate the KJV as the final absolute authority is to demean the original manuscripts and the sources the KJV translators used in their translation.
Whether Ruckmanism meets the definition of a cult may be a matter of dispute, but the remarks of Ruckman as documented here in which he places even defenders of the KJV in this imaginary Alexandrian Cult betray at the very least an isolationist “us versus them” mentality which is cultic.
Ruckman invented the "Alexandrian Cult" fantasy, but others have used the concept. This is from Jack Chick's comic Sabotage?