Deutsche Studenten verbrennen eingesammelte, 'undeutsche' Schriften und Bücher öffentlich auf der zentralen Prachtstraße 'Unter den Linden' in Berlin.For the second year in a row, this coming Halloween, a church full of crazies in Canton, North Carolina (that I blogged about last year) plans to burn Bibles. You read that right. A Christian church plans to burn Christian Bibles. It’s quite true; they’re damned serious about it; and they’re proud to announce it to the universe (WebCite cached article):

The annual Book Burning for 2010 will be upon us very soon. This year is going to be much bigger and better. We already have collected more perversions of God’s Holy Word than we had last year, as well as many books by heretics and movies.

Many churches and individual Christians last year contacted us in support of what we were doing. Many comments were made about how they could help or participate in 2010. So we believe that God is using us to help encourage other believers to do what God’s Word says in Acts 19 about burning satanic books. We are not starting a movement, association, denomination, brotherhood, or anything else for that matter. We are not in charge of anything or over anything except our local church. We are just a “voice crying in the wilderness” trying to encourage others to “earnestly contend for the faith.”

Their beef is with any Bible which is not based on the same manuscript foundation as the King James Bible:

We are burning Satan’s bibles like the NIV, RSV, NLT, HCSB, CEV, NCV, NIRV, TNIV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, ESV, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT (Jehovah Witness Bible), Amplified Bible, God’s Word Translation, 21st Century King James, Young’s Literal Translation, Reina-Valera 1960, Darby, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, Book of Mormons, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, Quran (Koran), Bible in Rhyme, Boomer Bible, and ect. As well as Greek New Testaments by Westcott & Hort, Metzger, Scrivener, Berry, Ginsburg, and Green. Also Herbrew-English Dictionaries by Brown, Driver, and Briggs. Also Greek-English Lexicons by Moulton, Thayer, Danker, and Liddell.

These are perversions of God’s Word [cached] the King James Bible [cached].

This church, it seems, is one of the few remaining “King James Only” churches left in the country. This evangelical-fundamentalist movement peaked probably in the 1970s, and it makes a very odd claim: That the Holy Bible is not really “God’s literal Word” in any form other than the King James Bible.

This seems exceedingly odd to those of us who are aware that the original Bible texts had not been written in English; that language didn’t even exist in the time when the Bible texts were conceived. It had been written, rather, in Hebrew and in Greek (with a few passages in the Old Testament, and a few words in the New, in Aramaic).

Yes, it seems that — according to the KJO folks — the Bible was not really God’s intended “Word” until the start of the 17th century when the King James translators started working. Before then, these ancient texts in ancient languages were merely a corrupted and flawed version of “God’s Word.” When the King James translators started working, God intervened miraculously and guided their quills so that they generated the text he’d intended all along.

Of course, prior to that, the Bible had been translated many times … e.g. into the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate of St Jerome, the Gothic Bible of Wulfila, and many more … but apparently God chose not to intervene in any of those projects. No one quite seems to know why he waited c. 16 centuries to correct his many flawed manuscripts, but according to the KJO folks, that’s what he did.

Among their rationales for this is that the textual basis of the King James New Testament, the Greek Textus Receptus of Erasmus, is the only truly sacred edition of the ancient manuscripts that make up the Bible. There are some problems with this position:

  1. The T.R. is not a complete Greek edition of the New Testament. Erasmus could not locate Greek texts for every portion of the New Testament, especially most of Revelation, so what he did was to translate the Latin Vulgate versions of these passages back into Greek, himself. In other words … he filled in the gaps on his own.

  2. The issue of the textual basis of the King James Bible is limited to the New Testament; it basically leaves out the Old. Which is strange, because something like 2/3 or 3/4 of the Christian Bible is the Old Testament.

  3. The King James translators included the Deuterocanonical or “apocryphal” books in their project, and they were included in its first printings. Afterward, the Anglican Church (for which the KJV had originally been commissioned) followed the Protestant dogma established by Martin Luther, and jettisoned those. Since the 18th century or so, all King James Bibles have left those books out. The KJO churches are all Protestant, too, and likewise reject the Deuterocanonicals. But it’s inconsistent of them to claim that the KJV is “God’s literal Word” as he originally had intended, yet leave out a healthy chunk of that project, as it had originally been handled.

At any rate, I find it amusing that Christians are burning their own sacred texts in an effort to promote textual purity. If not for the fact that book-burning is an affront to humanity and the intellect, it would be hilarious to watch. In the end, it’s sad, pathetic, and fascistic.

Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,