So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air, I Corinthians 14:9.
I am going to go out on a limb here, but I am thinking that the key market for Dr. Ward's book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible: KJV; has been likeminded people. I am not claiming that that is his intended target, but my instinctive guess is that the book has been warmly welcomed by people already using the new versions. No doubt, there are many who now hold it under grandma's nose as proof that she should switch, or give themselves a smug assurance of correctness when reproached by an adherent of the King James Bible.
Dr. Ward's premise is that the King James Bible is so laden with words which have shifted meaning in the last 400 years, that unsuspecting readers are getting false or misleading messages while reading it. That premise probably flies well with those who don't read it. As they look from afar at the list that Dr. Ward concocts, and as they shudder while he warns them that he has only given a few examples of many, there is probably great relief to the ignorant that they have been spared.
I am reminded of Hedrick Smith's excellent book from the 1970s called the Russians which was about Russian society under Communism. Smith documented how that from afar, the Communist party had compiled reasons that would make Russians fear to live in America. That list included such things as the ruble being worth more than the dollar. It included graphic descriptions of Indian reservations in the Dakotas. They would point to unemployment figures and boast that jobs were guaranteed in Russia. Looking at those things from afar, the average Russian was really grateful that he lived in Russia.
To the average reader of the ever changing, never settled word of God as represented by the new versions, there is undoubtedly a relief that they have been spared from having to read such words as "overcharge", and ignorantly thinking that had they read that in their bible they would have thought that Paul had charged them too much money. I have been reading and teaching from the King James Bible for the better part of four decades and in that time I have heard some funny misconceptions. I have even had a few of my own. I have never had a single person misconstrue II Corinthians 2:5 to think that Paul was charging too much money.
There were people who misconstrued what Jesus spoke even as he stood in front of them. Those who stuck with him eventually understood. Those who found his speech too difficult wandered away. There is no doubt in my mind that they quit far too easily and did so to their own undoing. I have found King James Bible readers to be extremely knowledgable in their bibles. Once in a while they have realized that they are reading a word that they don't quite get. I have never known one of them to be ultimately stymied.
Missionary to the Gypsies of Eastern Europe, Peter Heisey is no slackard in understanding the nuances of language. He is one of the most firm King James Bible supporters that I know and one of the few that if his statement on the subject were to replace mine, I would be content. Heisey tirelessly says this, "The biblical meaning of any word in the KJB can be understood by studying all occurrences of all forms of the word, in the KJB itself."
When a reader runs into a word that gives him pause, there are pastors and teachers who can help. The internet is rife with sites that can help. If Logos Bible Software for whom Dr. Wards shills had spent any time helping readers through a few places wherein a novice might temporarily stumble in a King James Bible instead of spreading a smorgasbord of new version tripe, the overall bible understanding in America and the Western world would rise dramatically.
I want to especially highlight an extremely ignorant objection noted by Dr. Ward. He claims to be an agent of God in speaking to the disadvantaged. That claim makes my blood boil because I too work with the disadvantaged. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net, Psalms 10:9. In this case, the net is the new versions.
Dr. Ward criticizes the King James Bible for its use of the word "convenient" in Ephesians 5:3-4, But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. He calls it "a pretty weak adjective". Dr. Ward illustrates here his misunderstanding of poverty in 21st Century America. The illusion of the virtuous poor is just that, it is mainly an illusion. The socialization of American society and the social safety net has stripped away the natural punishments and comeuppance of bad habits and sin. Here the King James Bible proves itself timeless.
Almost all of the poor who come through my office or whose homes I reach, suffer from self inflicted wounds wrought by sin committed in their ignorance. While they weep over being abandoned with children by their live in boy friends, or cry out with the pain of being jailed for back child support, I gently point out that when they first began to lightly shack up with someone out of the convenience of sharing rent, or the convenience of uncommitted sex, it really wasn't as convenient as they thought.
When they found pornography outlets on the web, or gave their own bodies over to be photographed or gazed upon, it had all seemed so convenient and easy to do. Rules didn't matter. Now, as they down antidepressants, alcohol and illegal drugs to cope with their agony of heart, and as they struggle with drug resistant STDs, they realize that uncleanness hadn't really been all that convenient.
When they finished shopping at the first of the month when their welfare money and food stamps came in, the lottery tickets on sale at the convenience store had seemed so conveniently accessible. The tickets are sold everywhere at the convenience of the covetous. One of the first things that I have to teach them is that the lottery is a tax on ignorance. The more ignorant a man is, the more of the tax he pays. Customer service counters in Allegany County are often filled with shabby unclean people scratching away on a string of tickets. In reality, when they add up all of the money they spend each year on lusts that seem so convenient, they realize that covetousness is not convenient.
The poor are quick to mock, quick to utter foolish things, quick to make foolish jests. In their ignorance, it seems so convenient to say those things. When they weep in my office, or at their kitchen tables, and as they so pitifully rue their unclean foolish mouths, and they grieve over the damage that they have done, they would beg every one of Dr. Ward's victims to realize that those sins into which they stumbled because they were so conveniently accessible, are not convenient. I find it difficult to believe that any man who has spent time with the poor could make the mistake he makes.
Lastly, I must address this one. On page 48, Dr. Ward does not know what the appearance of evil is. He thinks that it means to "abstain from every instance of evil". There was some general hilarity among those with whom I shared this last night. If it appears evil to those watching don't do it. I showed this to a man who grew up on the streets of Buffalo, NY. He had been tortured, molested, abandoned and exploited by just about everyone he ever knew. He ended his first two marriages with a baseball bat and rightly spent hard time in prisons over it.
When I met him, his third wife would pray every night that God would kill him. He was taking 19 psychotropic pills a day. His psychiatrist had told him that there was nothing more medical science could do for him. Dale likes to say that when science gave up, God took over. A man with a King James Bible showed up at his door. It took a little while to wean him from his New King James Bible and to hook him up with the book that has been used of God to heal wounded hearts and minds for 400 years.
Dale was an alumni of some of the finest prisons, jails, mental facilities, halfway houses, reform schools, and rehab facilities in Florida, Vermont and New York. Nothing helped. After four years of drifting in and out of this ministry, and slowly coming to trust those words of a King James Bible that well meaning but ignorant people had taken away from him, Dale got saved. I don't mean that he made a little profession, I mean that in agony of heart, as I prayed while laying on my face in an overstuffed chair in his living room, God showed Dale that his problem in life is that Dale was a rebel against God himself. He arose a new creature.
Today he is a good husband and father. He is a trustee in my church. All who ever knew him marvel at him and the grace of God. I told him what Dr. Ward thought about "all appearance of evil". Dale just looked at me and laughed. For the last seven years he has succeeded in abstaining from all appearance of evil.
In the next post, we will get to more substantive charges that Dr. Ward makes. I have charged him in this with silliness. I can assure you that I would rather be called many things before I was ever called silly.