At Ruckmanism.org we believe it is proper to refer to the KJV as trustworthy, reliable, proven and faithful but not infallible, inspired or inerrant, which are terms to be reserved for the original manuscripts. We explain the reasons in The KJV is trustworthy, but can it be inerrant? Some no doubt claim inerrancy because of profound respect and devotion for the KJV, but are unaware of some details and facts surrounding the issue. Ruckman is indeed aware, as we shall demonstrate from his own writings. How he reacts to being confronted with those issues and details in light of his KJV inerrancy teaching is the focus of this article.
What he allows for the KJV in light of his KJV inerrancy teachings and what he doesn't allow for modern translations is very revealing. You will notice how he wants to make his own rules in order to control the desired outcome. Notice this first quote from Ruckman's literature:
Some of these deluded idiots actually think that the AV must always abide by the Hebrew and Greek texts, and where it doesn’t, it is wrong, and where it DOES it is wrong! (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Job. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1980, p. 253)
If the original manuscripts are inerrant (we believe they are), then by necessity an inerrant KJV must always abide by the Greek and Hebrew texts! We grant that there are differing texts, but that does not seem to be the issue here. The extant manuscripts do not always agree in a small percentage of cases, but when they do, the KJV should match the Greek and Hebrew, with exceptions allowed for the nuances of English grammar. When the KJV is propped up as inerrant, that is the highest standard that can be attributed to anything, and this highest of standards is expected to be maintained consistently throughout when its text is examined and compared to the manuscript record. Ruckman should not complain or resort to name calling or change the goalposts when others put the KJV to the test to verify his inerrancy claims. Notice in this next quote the exceptions Ruckman grants to the KJV:
No translating committee on earth (for 400 years) has ever translated every Greek word (from any text) exactly according to its lexicographical (dictionary meaning) as given in a Greek lexicon. All translators “take liberties” in order to get across what they think the meaning should be in their language. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believer's Bulletin. March 1996, p. 4)
What Ruckman says initially is true, but how could the text remain inspired and inerrant after passing through the human filter of the KJV translators' interpretation? How could "what they think" become infallible?
Just because the original Greek manuscripts, wherever they are, would not agree verbatim, jot and tittle, to the King James English version, is not proof that the King James version is not the inerrant, infallible Word of God…when I say it, I mean the King James Bible is the exact form and shape and size and content of the Bible that God wants the world to have from 1611 to the second coming of Jesus Christ, and that there are no mistakes in it, unless the linotype operator or the press that wrote it off has made a mistake in setting type. Now that’s something to think about. And you’re not going to understand it until I finish talking about the history of the movement of the Holy Spirit. You say, “well, if that’s true Brother Ruckman, the whole thing you’ve been telling us breaks down, and you admit that it is not the original, the God-breathed Word.” No, you spoke a little too quick, and a little too foolishly in making that comment. Because you see, in your simple-mindedness my friend, you have presumed from the very start that a book could not be infallible and from God, unless it matched verbatim the original autographs. And that’s where you’ve made a gross error. You say, “Brother Ruckman, do you mean to tell me that God can change that book from century to century and it still be inerrant and infallible?” Yes. (Ruckman, Peter. Greek Manuscript Evidence. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, circa 1970’s. CD audio recording, about 30-32 minutes into track 4)
Incredible! Here Ruckman essentially admits that the KJV would not agree verbatim, jot and tittle with the original manuscripts. As we've stated before, Ruckman likes to make the rules. Under his rules, the Bible can change from century to century and it remains inerrant and infallible because supposedly God changed it. That can only be true strictly under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as when a portion was added after King Jehoiakim destroyed it (Jeremiah 36). However, the KJV was not translated under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Well, Erasmus “guessed” on the wording in Revelation 22 and hit it right; the Authorized Version translators guessed on 1 John 2:23 and got it right. Why not just exercise a little faith again and honor their “guess” and see how it comes out at the Judgment Seat of Christ? (Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 335)
If the inerrancy of the KJV hinges even partially on others getting their guesses right, then it rests on a shaky foundation. The Bible does not teach the inerrancy of translations when not carried out under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as took place when the original were composed, so we are not under obligation to resort to faith to believe anything different.
This is true of all of the gnat strainers in the Cult, who worry about “ye” should have been “he,” or “he” should have been “she”… (Ruckman, Peter. The Scholarship Only Controversy. p. 363)
Since Ruckman continually insists that the KJV is inerrant, he is openly inviting scholars to find fault with the KJV. Has it ever occurred to Ruckman that much of the scholar’s efforts to prove error in the KJV is likely a direct result of teaching that the KJV is inerrant? He should not be surprised that some have set out to attempt to prove him wrong, down to the seemingly minor details. If the KJV truly was infallible, it would apply to every single pronoun. A simple change of a pronoun can have a profound effect on the meaning and interpretation of a text. If the KJV is inerrant, he should be concerned about every pronoun, and there should not be any variations in pronouns between KJV editions.
Both readings of the AV editions are correct in Ruth 3:15; “he” (Boaz) went into the city, and “she” (Ruth) went into the city. … If they don’t match in the “inspired originals”—a famous Alexandrian cliché—why do they have to match in the English as long as both words are true to the text, and neither one is a lie? They don’t. (Ruckman, Peter. Twenty-Two Years of the Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Vol. 3, Doctrinal Studies. 2000, p. 337)
Since Ruckman says the KJV is inerrant, his arguments need to be put to a higher standard than "alexandrian clichés." Notice how Ruckman continues moving the goalposts when it comes to defending KJV inerrancy, allowing for practices that are condemned when applied to other translations:
…the greatest Book the world has ever (or will ever) see. If they alternate between "Dynamic Equivalence," "Formal Correspondence," "Complete Equivalence," and "Creative Connectives" (isn't education impressive!), so can we. If they can appeal to two conflicting sets of authorities, so can we. We are not inferior to them just because we know they are stuck on themselves. It they can add or subtract from "the Greek," so can we. If they can take liberties with the Hebrew, so can we. If they can find their meaning in one lexicon, we can find ours in another. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. (Bible Believer's Bulletin. Nov. 1990, p. 16)
The big difference here is that translators who utilize such practices do not consider their translations infallible. Ruckman condemns the results when practiced in other translations, but embraces them when instances are pointed out in the KJV! This is a glaring double standard.
Ruckman doesn't appreciate it when others begin to ask too many questions that cry out for answers if his inerrant KJV theory truly is biblical and consistent with how God worked in times past and with other languages:
“How do you account for the marginal notes in a King James Bible?” “Where was the inerrant word of God before 1611?” “Do other languages have an inerrant Bible?” “What about the differences in the AV editions?” “Why would the Anglican Church be trusted with a translation?” “Wasn’t Erasmus a Catholic?” “Didn’t Spurgeon suggest improvements on the AV?” “Wouldn’t Burgon and Hills correct some places?” etc., etc.
All of this hot air blasting is impressive to a novice or a new Christian who is impressed by scholarship. To those of us who have been dealing with such matters for nearly forty years, the barrage resembles nothing but a sirocco. Someone is belching because they have air in their belly. Someone is trying to set up a smoke screen to hide behind; someone is camouflaging SIN so they can get away with it. (Bible Believer's Bulletin. Jan. 2010 p. 20)
Ruckman is clearly uncomfortable with the questions, as he responds with insults and never directly answering these questions, in spite of bragging that "No one yet has ever accused me of generalizations or obscurities in dealing with an issue" further on in the article!
To Ruckman's credit, he does at times attempt to answer his critics more specifically in regards to his views on KJV inerrancy. The most serious attempt on his part was his book Problem Texts published in 1980, retitled The "Errors" in the King James Bible in 1999. In this 511-page book (1999 edition), he deals with "400 main objections to a King James 1611 Authorized Version according to its most vicious critics" (p. xviii). Although other authors suggested the inerrancy of the KJV before this book issued in 1980, it was always dealt with briefly and not many passages were defended in the name of KJV inerrancy. We consider this book by Ruckman first issued in 1980 to be the first extensive apologetic for the absolute inerrancy of the KJV.
As we have often said, Ruckman likes to be the one who makes the rules so he can't lose. Here are examples of Ruckman making up self-serving rules to ensure the KJV passes his inerrancy test:
This means that what God originally inspired does not have to match the Scripture God preserved, and if you could get a copy of the "original autograph," you would not have the words God wanted you to have. (Ruckman Reference Bible. 1st ed., Note regarding Jer. 36:32)
Notice the extent Ruckman has to go in the process of attempting to get rid of any possible evidence to the contrary in his quest to convince others that the KJV is inerrant:
…and was clear enough in the AV to correct all Greek manuscripts, all Greek verbs, all Greek scholars, all Greek commentators, all Greek texts, all Greek lexicons, and all Greek teachers. They stand corrected. (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Hebrews. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1986, p. 313)
If someone wants to personally give the KJV the benefit of the doubt when questions surface about its text, that is their privilege and their right. Since the KJV is the Bible we use, we personally go on the assumption that it is probably correct in the few places it is seriously questioned. However, this does not mean this personal way of approaching the KJV is not something that should be imposed on others, nor is this willingness to give it the benefit of the doubt proof that it is indeed inerrant. For more on the topic of Ruckmanism and the inerrancy of the KJV, see The KJV is trustworthy, but can it be inerrant?