The Battle for the King James Bible in the Bible-Presbyterian Church

S H Tow

History Teaches Vital Lessons

For 56 years, ever since the founding of the Bible-Presbyterian Church, I have grown with the Church, and observed (as well as played a part in) the unrelenting and mounting conflict over the use of Bible Versions.

From the day of its founding in 1950, the King James Bible (KJB) has been our Bible, the one Bible which we held to be the Word of God. To me, this was a crucial issue, to be able to substantiate our Doctrine (Constitution 4.2.1) that “We believe in the divine, verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and, as the Word of God, the Supreme and final authority in faith and life,” with a tangible BOOK.

By the 1970s, our Presbytery and Synod meetings had become the battleground of Bible Versions. We began to witness a rising chorus of voices from certain of the younger members, calling for the introduction of Modern English Versions. For the first time the KJB’s unchallenged supremacy in our B-P Church came under attack.

I witnessed the attempts to dislodge the KJB from year to year, gathering support in numbers and strength. By 1988, this and other contentious issues, came to “breaking point.” While not the only issue, the conflict over the KJB was an important factor leading to the disintegration of the B-P Synod in 1988.

From that time, several B-P Churches abandoned the KJB to adopt Modern English Versions. This was a crucial turning point, signaling their slide into the Ecumenical stream. Calvary held fast, unmoved and faithful to our first love for the beloved KJB.

Beyond Versions—Why I Wrote It

While I led our Calvary group of churches, steadfastly holding to the KJB as the answer to our Constitution 4.2.1, the Lord laid on my heart to investigate the grounds for our belief that it was only the KJB which could be held up as God’s Word in English.

After years of study, prayer, and research, the Spirit led me to write Beyond Versions. At that time the attack on “Bible Preservation” had not erupted openly, so the thrust of my book was merely to demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that only one English version, the KJB fulfilled all the criteria of a BOOK that could be regarded as GOD’S WORD, and without mistake since it is a very accurate and faithful translation of God’s inspired and preserved words in the “original languages.”

In the process I have demonstrated beyond doubt, that the KJB is what it is, because its source texts, the OT Masoretic Text and the NT Textus Receptus, have been divinely preserved through the ages. This is VPP implied.

Readers are urged to read Beyond Versions. Here I shall merely present some excerpts which are fully in support of the much discussed VPP doctrine and the KJB (both of which are under fierce attack at this time).

Excerpts from Beyond Versions (BV)

Quote: “This Gospel offer is revealed to us, complete and perfect, through one Bible, the King James Bible (KJB) or Authorised Version” (BV, 21). The King James Bible is God’s greatest gift, the Crowning Gem of the Sixteenth Century Reformation; the Light which shattered a thousand years of a dark system; the Bulwark of “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3); the Rock of Defence against counterfeit Christianity; the mighty Sword of the Spirit which spells doom to the Father of lies. For over three centuries, this Book reigned supreme, the one faithful, authoritative, unique and accurate translation into English of the wholly and verbally inspired and preserved, inerrant, infallible, Hebrew and Greek words of God.

“Satan hates the King James Bible” (BV, 22). His diabolical genius conceived a dark scheme: the King James Bible must be replaced! False teachers will bring forth corrupted Modern English Versions harbouring another message, “preaching another Jesus … another spirit … another gospel …” (2 Cor 11:4), “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light … his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor 11:14–15).

The Texts: These were the best manuscripts—the Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament Text and the Received Greek New Testament Text (Textus Receptus). These were accurate and preserved copies of the inspired, inerrant, infallible Scriptures handed down by the Jews of the Old Testament and by the saints of the New Testament. They were carefully copied by their custodians. “These accurate copies (apographs) were in the possession of the faithful church up to the time of the Reformation and accepted by Protestant scholars as the most accurate and closest to the originals (autographs)” (BV, 46).

What need we say more? God’s greatest gift of the Sixteenth Century Reformation has lost none of its light and truth. Preserving perfectly each and every doctrine of Scripture, it stands unrivalled—the greatest translation of all time (BV, 47). God’s people may find complete safety and security in the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Greek Textus Receptus and “the KJB, God’s Preserved Prescription—inerrant, infallible, authoritative” (BV, 130).

Both Beyond Versions and the “VPP doctrine” tell one story: that God has perfectly preserved all the words in the “MSS” (manuscripts or apographs) from which comes the KJB, the only English translation that reflects the perfectly inspired and preserved Word of God in the original languages, “inerrant, infallible, and without mistake.”

Beyond Versions supports VPP.

Gospel Safeguard: VPP

Reader, pray as you ponder on this “12-point Statement,” a statement which will lead us into “green pastures and still waters.”

  1. All true sons of the Reformation believe: “The just shall live by faith and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 1:17; 10:17). Stated another way, “We are born again of the incorruptible word of God, which word endureth for ever and by it the gospel is preached” (1 Pet 1:23, 25).
  2. As true sons of the Reformation we believe that God’s Word which is incorruptible and endureth for ever is equally “inerrant” (without mistake) and “infallible” (incapable of making mistake).
  3. Since its founding the Bible-Presbyterian Church has written into its Constitution belief in the inerrant and infallible Word of God (Article 4.2.1): “We believe in the divine, verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and, as the Word of God, the Supreme and final authority in faith and life.”
  4. In this “article of faith” the “Scriptures in the original languages” refer to the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words in the autographs (which over time and with “wear and tear” are no longer in existence) and the apographs (which are the continuously preserved and uncorrupted copies of the autographs, presently existing, accessible, and identifiable).
  5. The Scriptures we use today are the King James Version (KJV, KJB), the time-honoured and beloved Bible of the Reformation. Whenever we refer to our Constitution 4.2.1, we hold up the KJV or KJB as God’s Word, “inerrant and infallible” precisely because it is derivedfrom the original language Scriptures that God has verbally and plenarily inspired.
  6. By the fruit we know the tree: the KJB is the “fruit” derived from the “tree” the “source texts” or “MSS” (manuscripts). We believe that God’s inerrant and infallible Word, as represented by the KJB had been derivedfrom totally inerrant and infallible source texts or “MSS” or “Apographs” (copies of the Autographs).
  7. Question: Can we identify these texts?
  8. Answer: Absolutely. Our great God did not leave Himself without witness, but preserved perfectly a body of MSS: the Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament Text and the Received Greek New Testament Text (Textus Receptus). From these perfectly preserved copies of God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Scriptures, is derivedour KJB.
  9. What is “VPP”? “V” is “Verbal,” meaning “word for word” (Websters Dictionary). “P” is “Plenary,” meaning “complete or absolute” (Websters Dictionary). “P” is “Preservation” meaning “kept from corruption or error.”
  10. “VPP of Scripture” refers to the supernatural and special providential care of God over the ages (Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter I, VIII; see also Ps 12:6, 7; Matt 5:18, 24:35; 1 Pet 1:25), safeguarding the transmission of the MSS by scribes or copyists, so that the body of texts (Masoretic Hebrew OT and Received Greek NT) has been kept pure as the “good tree” giving us the “good fruit,” the KJB.
  11. As the attacks on God’s Word increase in intensity, God’s faithful remnant people also increase and intensify in their loyalty to God’s Word without which the Gospel’s entire foundation would collapse.
  12. The inspired and preserved Word of God for the Bible-Presbyterian Church is upheld by a “threefold cord” which cannot be broken, namely: (i) Constitution 4.2.1, (ii) the VPP of God’s Word, (iii) the KJB, the Reformation Bible.

Mark these words: The present attack on the VPP will lead ultimately to a denial and betrayal of the KJB. This is a prediction worth watching. God bless all readers with spiritual discernment.

Dr S H Tow is the author of Beyond Versions and the contributing editor of the Defined King James Bible. He serves as Senior Pastor of the Calvary group of Bible-Presbyterian Churches (Jurong, Pandan, Tengah) and Truth Bible-Presbyterian Church; and is advisory/supervisory pastor of Ebenezer Bible-Presbyterian Church (Melbourne), Sydney Bible-Presbyterian Church, Vancouver Bible-Presbyterian Church, Calvary Bible-Presbyterian Church (Toronto), New Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (London), Chinese Christian Church of Saipan, and Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church (Colombo, Sri Lanka).

Published in The Burning Bush, Volume 12 Number 2, July 2006.