I have obtained a copy of the 1971 book "Which Bible?" (second edition) edited by David Otis Fuller. As far as I can tell, this is the beginning of the KJV Only movement we know today. I would not write this article if I had not gotten a copy of the original edition of this book myself and had read it myself. (I have heard that another early KJV author, JJ Ray, produced a similar book, but I have not found it.)
Most of the book is a reprint of Dr. Benjamin G. Wilkinson's 1930 book "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated". In the remarks about the author, all that is told of Wilkinson is that he is "all but unknown to the world of scholarship" and he "taught for years in a small and obscure Eastern college". Wilkinson was the dean of theology at Washington Missionary College in Washington, DC. This is a Seventh-Day Adventist school which is now known as Columbia Union College (www.cuc.edu). Nowhere in "Which Bible?" is any mention made that Wilkinson is a SDA, although for Wilkinson's book to have been reprinted, the original authors must have known its origin since they had to have had a copy and know the "small...Eastern college" where Wilkson taught.
The full text of "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated" is available online. Comparing the original text to the reprint in "Which Bible?" is essential, since the version in "Which Bible?" is not complete. The most salient omissions are Wilkinson's original footnotes, and Wilkinson was a capable scholar who produced a well-documented, scholarly book, citing such authorities as EG White carefully by page number. When these are stripped out, it's even less obvious who Wilkinson was.
Certainly, there was some movement against modern Bible translations before "Which Bible?" came out, but without the contributions of Wilkinson, this does not resemble today's KJV Only movement. Wilkinson has contributed most of the main talking points of the movement today: the villification of Westcott and Hort and Origen (and others), the idea of the two textual streams (the "bad" Alexandria and "good" Antioch), and so forth. Almost every major defense of the KJV today comes from the SDA Wilkinson. The only point used today that Wilkinson didn't mention was dynamic equivalence translations, which didn't exist in 1930. While it is a good point, it is not sufficient to get people to abandon modern literal translations. In fact, with the ESV and NKJV and other solid translations, the KJV Only has shifted away from objecting to the translations themselves (on which they have no basis for an argument) to underlying texts, making them even more dependent on the SDA Wilkinson than they used to be, since he is the sole source for these sorts of arguments.
To preserve his word, does God need a cultist? Could the Holy Spirit not have used a Christian to make these points? (It is ironic to see how many people both denounce the SDA movement and at the same time use a SDA's defense of the KJV Bible.) Then would God use someone who took this SDA material and deceived people by not telling where it came from? That just doesn't add up, and anything built on this foundation is going to be flawed.
What I encourage Christians to do is look at these issues yourself. It's not hard to get a copy of "Which Bible?" (and they're cheap). Get a copy of "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated" online and compare them. Be like the Bereans who did their own study and came to their own conclusions.
(Note: I don't have any problems with people who like the KJV, are comfortable with it, and want to use it. That's not what this is about.)
[Note: The TBS keeps sending me their literature even though I have contacted them to stop them from incurring the cost of producing and mailing me their materials. Remember, if you send me stuff, you have no one to blame but yourself when I write...[ abbreviated | read entire ]