Historical revisionists' accusations against the KJB

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Historical revisionists' accusations against the KJB

Postby bibleprotector » 26 May 2014, 23:00

Brief answers to some common accusations against the KJB.

I. The accusation that some of the translators were drunks

The accusation, made by Adam Nicolson in "Power and Glory" (page 99),
that Richard Thompson (just one translator) was a drunkard, is based
on the historical account of one extreme Puritan called William
Prynne. It is usual that those against the KJB will go out of their
way to quote this single source.

Nicolson takes a giant leap, on page 192, he says, "The eccentric
Bedwell, and drunk pornographer Thompson..."

This is called historical revisionism. It is in line with the
sensational reporting that the smallest unreliable details of badness
be blown up to make the godly men the worst that ever lived. Just
look at how King James is made into a tyrant and child abuser!

II. The accusation that Archbishop Bancroft, in making some last
minute changes, basically introduced translation errors in the King
James Bible

The story is that the Archbishop, Bancroft, made some last minute
changes to the King James Bible, to ensure that "Episcopal words"
were used... this event is supposed to have happened in 1610.

This is what the fairer judgment of Alister McGrath, 2001, "In the
Beginning", page 188 states, "Smith complained loudly to anyone that
might listen that Bancroft had introduced fourteen changes in the
final text without any consultation. Yet we remain unclear as to what
those alleged changes might have been." Take note of what certainty
there is in this matter.

If we examine the situation in the 1650s, it is vastly different from
that in 1610/1611. First of all, in the 1650s, the Laudian and post-
Laudian Anglican hierarchy was seen as suspect, and called "prelacy"
or "episcopacy". There were many Puritans who would attack the idea
of Bishops themselves (already a major platform in the 1630s), and
certainly a minority of Puritans had trouble accepting the King James

This accusation (that Bancroft altered the King James Bible) is at
least third hand, and not unbiased. I mean, that it is recorded in
histories like McClure, Norton, Bobrick or Nicolson, which is largely
based on the testimony of Henry Jessey, which in turn is his
recounting of Miles Smith's story. Each party uses the story for its
own ends, and presents it according to its own bias. Norton and
Nicolson have a clear agenda against the King James Bible, and will
take every opportunity (whether by design or otherwise) to present it
in as frail, haphazard, human and error-ridden as it seems. Whereas,
some are more positive, or more neutral-balanced. Therefore, the
present anti-King James Bible poster whom you are debating is casting
aspersions (introducing doubts) while relying on biased
reconstructions of the information (e.g. Adam Nicolson is a real spin
doctor, and sensationalism overweighs facts, according to him, one of
the translators was a drunkard and a pornographer, etc. etc.)

As for Henry Jessey... whist believing the King James Bible to
be "the best of any translation in the world", was mistaken to
believe that the exact truth was in the Hebrew only, and that the
pure language in the latter times as foretold by the prophet
Zephaniah was Hebrew. Jessey in many ways rejected moderate
Puritanism and spoke against Oliver Cromwell. Jessey was a leading
figure in the extremist group called the "Fifth Monarchy Men", which
is similar to Dominion Theology, which basically stated that
the "Saints" should take over the world, and go fight against the
antichrist system (including anyone who disagreed with them,
including other Puritans, Anglicans, Papists and Atheists), and usher
in the Kingdom of Christ upon the Earth.

To say that Jessey was "a Baptist Bible scholar" is like saying that
Benny Hinn presents Traditional Pentecostalism, or that Billy Graham
represents Southern Baptist doctrines.

Now to examine the matter of changes. Miles Smith and Thomas Bilson
were supposed to edit the final draft of the King James Bible. Their
editorial work was to ensure to iron out any problems, ensure that
the will of the Bishops and King was carried out, and to make sure
that the work was finalised. This was entirely proper. Now, whether
individual translators objected to particular differences, whether
they were on the grounds of their particular views, this is likely,
but no great outcry was raised. For example, Richard Brett's
apparently did object to some of the Bishops' alterations. This
should be seen in the light of Brett's living until 1637, and was
therefore contemporary with the Puritan anti-Laud, anti-Bishop
sentiment of that day, which was not developed in 1610/1611.
Secondly, that the report of translator Brett's objections to the
Bishops' changes is dated to about 1650. By this time the Puritans
were in power and the Bishops were gone. That these accusations come
from the 1650s is more about the Puritan anti-Bishop spin, and
possible attack on the King James Bible, rather than emphasis on the
contemporary situation. (The arch-Puritan report to the hyper-
Calvinist Synod of Dort, 1618, was nothing but high praise for the
King James Bible.)

If it is a fact that Bancroft made 14 changes, we do not know what
they were, but they were certainly for the better. It is Puritan
extremists from around 1650 who are making the charge that Bancroft
made the changes in favour of prelacy. For example, anti-KJB writers
may quote that "Bancroft's zeal was that of bigoted attachment to
prelacy, fierce even to persecution and cruel proscription". This is
an exaggeration. Bancroft was not Laud. It is in fact a statement
taken by present anti-King James Bible people from scholars who are
drawing their history from a variety of sources, who are taking the
tainted testimony of extremist Puritans from around the 1650s to
describe the King James Bible, to cast doubt upon it, and to attempt
to show that it was hopelessly corrupt.

Jessey and others should be seen for what they were. Jessey did
indeed work to "produce a new translation of the Scriptures" which
means he essentially REJECTED the King James Bible!

After Parliament won the Civil Wars, some of the extreme Puritans
wished to make a new Presbyterian Church of England. They also
planned to reintroduce the Geneva Version as the standard in public
worship, and had already begun by producing the King James Bible with
Geneva notes. This did not take hold in the country due to strong
competition with the last version, the King James Bible, so they
attempted to initiate a new translation. However, both attempts to do
this were stopped by Oliver Cromwell, the first by his dissolving of
Parliament, the second by his Parliamentary reforms. It was the
extremists (of various forms), not the moderate Puritans, who wanted
to replace the King James Bible, men such as, John Lightfoot (1602-
1675), Henry Jessey (1601-1663) and Robert Gell (1659).

Parliament passed a Bill in 1653, and even had a sub-committee
preparing for a new Bible version. But Parliament was forcibly
prorogued by Oliver Cromwell before anything could be done. This
unlooked for providence ensured that the King James Bible remained
stable and intact. The Cromwellian Parliament once again set up
another sub-committee chaired by Bulstrode Whitelocke to investigate
the possibility of a revision to the King James Bible, "that it be
referred to a committee to send for and advise with Dr Walton, Dr
Cudworth and others such as they should think fit, and to consider of
the translations and impressions of the Bible and to offer their
opinions therein", which never amounted to anything. The work "became
fruitless by the Parliament's Dissolution". "But a movement toward a
drastic revision intended to displace the version entirely, was well
under way when the Commonwealth collapsed and the Stuarts restored in
1660." Some reports as to how advanced this sub-committee was, in
making drastic alterations to the King James Bible, were probably
exaggerated; nevertheless, it shows that there were certain in the
Commonwealth and under the Protectorate who were agitating for the
replacement of the King James Bible. These matters had to come to an
end, otherwise a new incorrect version might actually have been

The facts seem to indicate that Bancroft personally did ensure that
the words "bishop" and "bishoprick" were placed where they are now.
There is no problem in this, since that is the correct translation,
and has been accepted by millions of Christians, with very little
serious objection. (The objections of circa 1650 were more political
than anything else.) While Americans and Australians may empathise
and draw much from the English Civil Wars, we do not view our King
James Bible as in error. We also disavow ourselves of the notions of
the extreme Purtians, but heartily agree and build upon the notions
of the sound and moderate men of God in that day who excelled far in
the Lord's work.

To claim that Archbishop Bancroft's 1610 changes in this regard were
against "the inspired translators" is utterly foolish. Of course the
translators were not inspired, and his input stands today. We readily
welcome that various persons perfected the text and translation of
the King James Bible from 1604-1611. (There is another common myth
how that the "fat monks" who translated for the "child abuser" King
James were afraid to translate properly, and also that they had him
virtually "slobbering and leering" over their shoulders making sure
that they did the work the way he wanted.)

What we are really observing is the biased presentation of history.
It is already a wild accusation to claim that the King James Bible
was tainted for political and power reasons in 1610. Thus, by the
time we come to 2008, anti-King James Bible people are willing to
jump on the opinion of an obscure Presbyterian and of a Fifth
Monarchist Bible Revisionist, to selectedly quote from a myriad of
later historical works which quote this, and then make the leap that
this may have affected the word "Easter"...

It needs to be straight in our minds. What is more important, the
opinions of certain Puritan, Presbyterian or Baptist scholars,
commentators and revisionists? or that God used Anglican Bishops to
give us His pure Word? You see the propaganda: Puritan good, Anglican
bad... actually, there are good and bad Anglicans, and good and bad

There are all kinds of stories around, such as that Shakespeare did
this, or that translator Richard Kilby said that, or that this or
that "typographical error" was not really a typographical error. Let
me say that this area is absolutely plagued with deception. Truth
will prevail. The reason why some King James Bible people are turned
is because they are believing errors or have false suppositions.
There are people who are out to hunt people's souls in this area. Be

III. The accusation that King James Bible is not "authorised"

There are questions whether King James the First really authorised
the version, based on the "fact" that the Bible of "1611 has never
claimed to be `authorized.'", yet the title page bears the
words: "HIS MAJESTY'S SPECIAL COMMAND". William Eyre wrote to James
Ussher, "In my absence from Cambridge, there was an order taken from
the King's Majesty by the Archbishop of Canterbury that the
translation of the Bible shall be finished and printed as soon as may
be." The notes from the Hampton Court conference where the
translation was first proposed recorded that King James said: "I
profess I could never yet see a Bible well translated in English; but
I think that of all, that of Geneva is the worst. I wish some special
pains were taken for an uniform translation, which should be done by
the best learned in both universities, then reviewed by the bishops,
presented to the privy council, and lastly to be ratified by royal
authority, to be read in the whole church, and no other." The written
authorisation is thought to have been lost, burnt in the fire of
Whitehall (1618). Collins Bibles have "Printed by Authority" on the
front page (though this could refer to Queen Victoria's 1839
Authorising, or the reissuance by successive monarchs, all of whom
descend from James the First). "The ultimate success of the new Bible
would owe much to the enthusiasm of James. Published by royal
authority, it `swept forward with a majestic stream of editions' — in
folio, quarto, and octavo — which eventually left all its rivals

IV. The accusation that some translators were only in it for the money

A later reporter, Dr Walker, claimed that one of the translators,
Andrew Downes, had to be threatened to join the Seventh Company, and
that King James had to pay him an incentive of £50. Clearly, if
Andrew Downes was being threatened against his will, he would not
have been paid for his work. Also, it is hard to extrapolate that
Downes was money minded, since the payment was quite justifiable. In
the face of all likelihood that King James did indeed contribute
toward the production of the Bible, there are some historians who
dispute this (because of their doctrinal biases).

V. The accusation that some translators were self absorbed

It is claimed that Lancelot Andrewes did not like his fellow
translators. However, there is only one comment from 1604 about this,
where he calls them negligent, and this would only be because of the
slowness to get things started, not because Andrewes was full of self-

VI. The true story about Richard Kilby

A story of one the translators, Richard Kilby, in his encounter with
a preacher at Derbyshire who claimed there was an error in the King
James Bible, is also altered. Instead of Kilby saying that there was
only two different ways a word could have been translated, the
exaggerated story speaks of Kilby stating that the translators
discussed thirteen different readings or possible translations of a
particular verse before deciding on one. The fact was that Kilby said
that they had found thirteen reasons why to translate a particular
word a certain way, which overpowered three reasons to translate a
word another way.

VII. King James the First

The following is a section from the draft of my book dealing with the
two alternate present views of King James the First. (Historical
revisionism is part of Satan's fogging of the importance of the
KJB/authority of truth issue.

King James knew that his name and person would be slandered, as Miles
Smith wrote: "This, and more to this purpose, his Majesty that now
reigneth (and long and long may he reign, and his offspring for ever,
Himself and children and children's children always!) knew full well,
according to the singular wisdom given unto him by God, and the rare
learning and experience that he hath attained unto; namely, That
whosoever attempteth any thing for the publick, (especially if it
appertain to religion, and to the opening and clearing of the word of
God) the same setteth himself upon a stage to be glouted upon by
every evil eye; yea, he casteth himself headlong upon pikes, to be
gored by every sharp tongue." (TTR, Section 3).

What survives to the present is a body of contradicting "evidences"
about the life of King James. One narrative indicates that he was a
bad person, the other set of evidence shows exactly the opposite. For
example, two articles from the same encyclopædia (Online Britannica
2001) contain opposite views, which directly contradict one another.

The slanderous history accuses King James of being a well-educated
pedantic hypocrite, while the truthful history affirms his education,
but states that he "debated theology with learned divines" and that
he was "A model of the philosopher prince". The revised history
describes him as being manipulated in Scotland by various powerful
figures, yet the factual history shows that "He governed his poor
nation by balancing its factions of clans and by restraining the
enthusiastic leaders of its Presbyterian church." The slanderous
material claims that his experience was not enough to help him when
he took the throne of England, and speaks of his enmity with
Parliament as being the major contributing factor to the English
Civil Wars. The truthful material, however, is realistic when
acknowledging that James was "the most experienced monarch to accede
to the English throne since William the Conqueror as well as one of
the greatest of all Scottish kings." (The war was his son's fault.)

The revisionist theory pretends to be impartial when it reports, "To
parliamentary statesmen used to Tudor dignity, James's shambling
gait, restless garrulity, and dribbling mouth ill-befitted his
exalted claims to power and privilege." The factual records give the
correct account, "James I was viewed with suspicion by his new
subjects. Centuries of hostility between the two nations had created
deep enmities, and these could be seen in English descriptions of the
king. There he was characterised as hunchbacked and ugly, with a
tongue too large for his mouth and a speech impediment that obscured
his words. It was said that he drank to excess and spewed upon his
filthy clothing. It was also rumoured that he was homosexual and
preyed upon the young boys brought to service at court. This
caricature, which has long dominated the popular view of James I, was
largely the work of disappointed English office seekers whose pique
clouded their observations and the judgments of generations of
historians." The false history also reports that James was estranged
from his wife, and that she was involved with intrigues against him,
whereas sincere history reports, "James was described as pleasing to
look at and pleasing to hear. He was sober in habit, enjoyed vigorous
exercise, and doted on his Danish wife, Anne, who had borne him two
male heirs." It was true, however, that Anne was willing to tolerate
Roman Catholicism.

It should be obvious that the two stories being told are opposite one
to another, and that the sensational and tabloid tales of King James'
life were the products of his enemies.

"The character of James I as a scholar has been greatly underrated.
In the Hampton Court conference he certainly showed a clear and ready
comprehension of every subject brought before him, together with
extensive reading and a remarkably sound judgment. For the best
translation into any language we are indebted under God to King
James, who was called a hypocrite by those who had no religion, and a
pedant by persons who had not half his learning. Both piety and
justice require that, while we are thankful to God for the gift of
his word, we should revere the memory of the man who was the
instrument of conveying the water of life through a channel by which
its purity had been so wonderfully preserved." "James ... was often
wiser in his aims than the House of Commons, he usually sought to
attain them in an unwise way. He was not tyrannical". "The memory of
the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot." (Proverbs
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