Of Unicorns and Gay
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth, John 17:17.
One of the more preposterous theories put forth by Mark Ward in his book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible: KJV; is the theory that the English Bible needs to be retranslated about every 30 years because of the cultural changes that corrupt the meanings of words. This is one of those times when he should make clear that he receives regular paychecks from Logos Software which greatly profits from the constant swirling of cultural sands that prompt new version editors to keep revising their product.
Since Dr. Ward singled out both Unicorn and Gay as words that are bound to create a wrong impression in young people today, we'll look at them. Instead of weakening the King James Bible, those two words reenforce the timelessness of the King James Bible.
What is a unicorn? From time to time, I see debate when King James defenders try to defend the word in the face of mockers advocating new versions. They go through all sorts of species trying to prove that there really are unicorns. I think they miss the mark. When the King James translators wanted to be specific, they did so. To the disgust of modern translators for the last two centuries, the King James translators identified the tabernacle as being covered with badger skins. I have no doubt that the tabernacle was covered with badger skins. The translators chose not to identify the specific specie that they called unicorn, they merely told you that it is a beast with one horn.
Unicorns are purposely not identified other than having the characteristic of only having one horn and great strength. They are identified as being part of the passion of Jesus Christ in calling out to the Father at the same time that strong bulls of Bashan are gnashing upon him with their teeth (Psalms 22:12-21). They are identified as being with Jesus Christ when he bathes the land in blood at the second coming. It seems pretty clear to me that they are a species not known presently on earth, but known in heaven. If little girls reading the word picture them as something out of My Little Pony, the Hasbro toy set, no harm is done any more than a medieval painter picturing them as his imagination required. It has been left vague on purpose.
As for the word "gay"; For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? James 2:2-4. I find it fascinating then when sodomites sought a word to describe themselves, they chose a word associated with dishonor in the word of God.
Gay is a word that has long been associated with social pleasures, or lightheartedness, and for a significant period of time in English history gay was associated with sexual wantonness. James didn't talk about a man with rich clothing, or sumptuous clothing. He called it gay clothing. The picture in James 2:2-4 is a picture of a man inappropriately dressed in the exact opposite of the man with vile clothing. Vile clothing is not poor clothing, or smelly clothing. It is clothing that shows the person to be of despicable character.
I work with the poor. Their choice in clothing more often represents poor character than a poor wardrobe. Their closets might be filled with threadbare unwashed clothing, but their choice in what they wear to church is often the weirdest thing they have. A woman with missing teeth, greasy hair, a musty smell and tattoos galore will often come to church dressed to show men of a similar ilk that the welfare check is due soon and there is room at home. That is vile clothing. It goes beyond poor.
Similarly, the gaily dressed person is sending a message. He is dressed well, but it is to demonstrate a mindset out of sync with the house of God. It is the opposite of sober minded. Each way of dressing, the gay or the vile, demonstrates evil thoughts.
Gay and unicorn are not words outdated by current fashion. They are timeless words that will live on long after the current trends in speech are long gone.