See also The Debate that Never Was
Upon the publication of my book, The King James Only Controversy, I wrote to Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, sent him the book, and challenged him to a debate. The correspondence that ensued, the behavior exhibited by Ruckman, and his eventual unwillingness to engage in the debate, is documented fully on our web page. Dr. Ruckman was unwilling to engage in any kind of meaningful scholarly debate, and as we work through his attempted replies to my book, we will see exactly why.
The unwary should be warned: Peter Ruckman is not a kind individual. His language is offensive to the vast majority of believing Christians, and he is well aware of this. It’s his trademark. That is why the vast majority of Christians don’t even bother with anything he has to say: he is obviously unfamiliar with the fruit of the Spirit in his life, and gives evidence of it in almost every sentence.
But, since Dr. Ruckman is engaging in the mass distribution of falsehood regarding the Bible and its translation, we must take a few moments to point out his errors, despite how unpleasant the task.
Dr. Ruckman wrote a series of articles that appeared in his publication, The Bible Believer’s Bulletin. He began with two articles identifying my book as the “classic” presentation of “the Alexandrian cult,” a term he uses of everyone who doesn’t believe exactly as he. Basically, all Christians everywhere, except for a certain element of the KJV Only camp, are Alexandrian cultists according to Ruckman. I took his article as high praise.
Then Dr. Ruckman tried to tackle the seven passages I had provided to him in the initial stages of trying to arrange a debate in the pages of The Bible Believer’s Bulletin. As this “response” is being distributed all over the nation by Ruckman’s disciples, we provide a response here.
We also note that Ruckman has since then published an entire book aimed at me and my book. We have not yet seen this book, though we know that Ruckman has our address (he has sent us other books, including one of the most ridiculous works we’ve ever seen titled Black is Beautiful, a racist, aliens-are-taking-over-the-world conspiracy book). Given the fact that we prove below that Ruckman is incapable of handling scholarly material, and errs at every turn, we can only imagine what this new “book” contains.
In a recent publication by a member of the “Alexandrian Cult,” the author pointed out what he considered to be either errors or “misleading” and “awkward” translations (or “inferior” translations) in the AV as compared with the two most corrupt Laodicean products on the market: the NIV and the NASV. Both of these “Bibles” teach the two gods of The Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) by listing a begotten god and an unbegotten God in John 1:18.
The single most common element of KJV Onlyism is inconsistency in the sense of illogic. Dr. Ruckman is the greatest offender at this point. A reading of his materials bears this out with frightening regularity (one might well say he is consistently inconsistent). Fairness is not a part of his vocabulary. The passages that Ruckman will address came from our correspondence, but he is more than happy to jump to my book for a normally a-contextual reference or two as well. Any person trying to follow his alleged “citations” will find it very difficult, as he has no concern for following context at all. In this paragraph Ruckman attempts to poison the well by immediately taking unfounded shots at the NIV and NASB (Ruckman consistently mis-identifies the NASB as the NASV). The propriety of reading “unique” or “only-begotten God” at John 1:18 is fully defended in The King James Only Controversy, pp. 198-200 and 258-260.
Last spring, White challenged me to a debate, saying he could prove there were errors in the Authorized Version. I named a time and place (April 1, 1996, here at the Bible Baptist Church). He backed out. The most interesting thing about it was when I suggested that he prove ten errors giving him five minutes to prove each error he backed down to proving SEVEN. Why he didn’t insist on twenty or thirty I have no idea, but seven was all he could drum up. Since he backed out, I thought our readers would like to know what Jimmy would have run into if he had gone through with his rash and stupid decision.
Ruckman’s ability to change history and reality is truly monumental. The reader is simply directed to the relevant correspondence on our web page. Anyone can read the facts for themselves, see how Ruckman changed things around over and over again, and how he behaved.
As to why I chose seven, the reason was simple: Ruckman cannot handle any protracted discussion of a scholarly subject, since his position is 99% bluster and 1% substance. That 1% substance doesn’t last long in cross-examination. Hence, he has to keep moving from subject to subject, concept to concept, to “look” good before his followers. Therefore, his initial proposal made it impossible to address any subject to any depth at all; no interaction was to be allowed, no real debating was to take place. By limiting the number to seven I hoped to at least have sufficient time to make some statement regarding the facts of each passage. That is why I chose seven.
You see, what no nut like White (or his buddies, Ankerberg, MacRae, Kenneth Barker, Palmer, Bruce Metzger, John MacArthur, etc.) realizes is the BASIC FOUNDATION upon which they have to build the moment they reject ANY BIBLE as their final authority. The poor fools don’t realize that this leaves all of them standing on the shifting sands of humanism and relativity. Thus, anyone (including their adversaries) can quote anything to prove anything. Since liars have to have good memories, none of these characters (plus Doug Kutilek, Robert Sumner, Bob Jones III, Stewart Custer, etc.) can see what they are doing, even when they are doing it. They are stating that everything must be tested by the Bible with no Bible in mind. Or everything must be tested by Scripture, when none of them have ever seen a copy. Or, as White puts it, “The standard is GOD’S TRUTH” meaning nothing. In White’s case, “God’s Truth” turns out to be 271 pages of rehashed Hort, who was proved to be a liar on a dozen occasions more than one hundred years ago (by Scrivener, Hoskier, Burgon, and Miller).
Aside from Ruckman’s use of such terms as “nuts,” “liars,” and “poor fools,” here we have, in a nutshell, the core elements of Ruckman’s system. Just as Rome claims that without her infallible magisterium we cannot have any certainty regarding our beliefs, so the KJV Only advocate uses Rome’s own arguments to put his ultimate authority–a 17th century Anglican translation in English–in the position of primacy. Working in the area of Roman Catholic evangelization and apologetics, I have seen this kind of argument over and over and over again.
Ruckman says that modern Christian scholars reject “ANY BIBLE as their final authority.” What the reader needs to realize is that what Ruckman is really saying is, “If you do not put forward one English translation as the final word on all issues, you don’t really believe in the Bible.” The Bible is subtly redefined by Ruckman and his followers so that it no longer has any contact with the historical reality of what the Scriptures have always been to the Church. Seemingly, the Church did not have the Scriptures until 1611! Of course, that is ridiculous, and that is why Ruckmanism is consistently rejected by orthodox Christians.
The further error of Ruckman’s position can be seen in the fact that what he is proposing can be summed up like this: “If you admit that there are variations in manuscripts, and admit that passages in the Bible allow for more than one accurate translation and understanding, then you don’t have a Bible to refer to.” Think that through a few times. Every person who worked on the KJV-from individuals like Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza, who provided the text in the preceding century, to the translators themselves-would have to be rejected by Ruckman on the very same basis as he rejects myself and modern Christian scholars who walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before. None of them believed as Ruckman does (indeed, no one in the history of the Christian Church has ever believed as Ruckman does on theology, history, and the like). No one has ever believed that an honest acceptance of the facts regarding the existence of textual variations and translational difficulties means that one cannot believe in the Bible, cannot have a Bible, and does not have an ultimate authority. Ruckman’s position is, at its core, pure nonsense, yet this error gives shape and form to everything else.
Finally, my book is not warmed over material from Dr. Hort, and none of those that Ruckman cites would have sided with Ruckman on almost anything regarding translation, history, or anything else. Indeed, Burgon would have had nothing to do with Ruckman on a number of counts. Had Burgon lived today, Ruckman would attack him just as vociferously as he does anyone else.
The STANDARDS for criticizing the AV and finding “error” in it are NOT applied to the NASV or the NIV or the NRSV. So all we have to do to prove that any “error” in the AV is not an error is to use the same methods the Alexandrians use for proving the NIV and NASV are not in error; “even-Stephen, six of one, half a dozen of another.” Gary Hudson stumbled into this trap, and now Jimmy White follows him.
Here Ruckman turns the truth on its head. In point of fact, it is the consistent practice of KJV Only advocates to use one set of standards for the KJV, and a completely different set for all other translations. This is part and parcel of KJV Onlyism. Many examples of this are provided in my book. I refer especially to the example I give on pages 202-203 with reference to John 14:14.
Error No. 1 (Luke 2:22): Here, “Her purification” is an “error” according to all Alexandrians for the Greek texts say “their purification”. Thus the NIV and NASV are correct in saying “THEIR purification.” The only thing wrong with this is that it is a lie. Joseph didn’t need any purification according to the Biblical source for the Biblical quotation (Leviticus 12). Only the WOMAN needed to be purified; look at it.
The first passage Ruckman chose to address was my citation of Luke 2:22. This passage is mentioned only twice in my book, once in a table, once in an endnote. Yet it is an excellent example of the textual problems in the Textus Receptus (TR). It also allows us to see just how much KJV Only advocates are really dedicated to the “truth,” or to their own traditions.
It is helpful to refocus the reader’s attention on the real issues as we begin looking at Luke 2:22. First, let’s remember: our goal is to know what Luke wrote, not what a scribe wrote a thousand or more years later, not what our traditions have taught us it should say, or anything else. We want to know what Luke wrote under the direction of the Holy Spirit, period. Second, we must keep our eyes on that goal, and never allow our fallible understanding of any issues related to the text to enter into our deliberations. That is, if we say, “Well, it can’t read this way, since that would create an error” (as Ruckman does above in citing Leviticus 12), we are assuming something: that our understanding of the passage is the only possible one! “Oh, Luke couldn’t have said that, since I think he believed X and Y.” This subtle error is gravely dangerous, for it makes our systems of theology the “grid” by which the Scriptures themselves are to be judged! But where, then, do we derive our theology? Isn’t it supposed to come from the Scriptures? Of course. So, the KJV Only advocate who follows Ruckman’s lead is trapped in a viciously tight circle, using his theology to judge what the Bible should say, all the while claiming the theology comes from the Bible! We need to avoid this kind of thinking.
Let’s look at the passage as found in the KJV and NASB:
Luke 2:22 (KJV)
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
Luke 2:22 (NASB)
And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord;
Now, two completely different arguments have been presented against the reading of the NASB by KJV Only advocates. D.A. Waite thinks this reading makes Jesus a sinner, since he sees “their” as referring to Mary and Jesus. Ruckman takes a different view, and sees “their” referring to the couple, Mary and Joseph. At this point Ruckman is in a better position than Waite, to be sure, as the passage says that “they (plural, i.e., Joseph and Mary) brought him (Jesus) to Jerusalem.” Hence, the natural way to take “their” would be in reference to Mary and Joseph, not to Mary and Jesus. Dr. Metzger provided a comment on this passage:
The reading autwn, which is by far the best attested reading, is difficult for the Law prescribes no ritual of purification for the husband. The reading authj (which, in the editions of Theodore Beza, lies behind the AV) is a late correction made by a punctilious scribe. The Western reading autou can be regarded as a transcriptional error for autwn (in cursive Greek script the pronoun was abbreviated aut with the termination expressed by a “shorthand” stroke), or as a deliberate modification, introduced because afterwards (ver. 27) Jesus is the object of the presentation in the Temple (p. 134).
Edward F. Hills, an advocate of the TR, admitted that this was a passage that is troublesome, for many reasons. First, all five editions of Erasmus read “their” rather than “her.” Erasmus is often put forward as a particularly strong source, for the obvious reason that many of the unique readings that found their way into the KJV came from him. But here he stands against the final reading of the TR that found its way into the KJV. Likewise, Stephanus (1555) reads “their.” Why is this? For the simple reason that 99.9% of all Greek manuscripts of Luke read “their”! This includes the entire Byzantine manuscript tradition, which is always called upon by KJV Only advocates as the “pure” form of the text. As Hills admits, he knows of only a few Greek minuscules and manuscript 76 that supports the TR reading. Indeed, Beza was probably unaware of those sources, and simply made a “conjectural emendation,” which is a nice way of saying, “He didn’t like the way it read in all the manuscripts, so he changed it without evidence.” Let’s think about what this means. The earliest we can trace the specific reading “her” in the Greek manuscripts is to the 14th century–almost a millennium and a half after Luke wrote the passage. Somehow, Christians got along with the reading “their” for quite some time! Are we to believe that all during this period God was unconcerned about this, and allowed it to go on unchecked? If we apply KJV Only standards we must.
So what we have at Luke 2:22 is simply this: nearly every single manuscript of the Gospel of Luke we have, whether it be Byzantine, Western, or Alexandrian, reads “their.” There are no Greek manuscripts prior to the 14th century that read “her.” The reading that is found in the KJV can be traced directly to Theodore Beza at the end of the sixteenth century. The KJV Only advocate, then, is telling us that the “real” reading of Luke 2:22 was “hidden” for the vast majority of the Christian era, only to reappear out of thin air in the work of Calvin’s successor, Beza.
The simple reality is this: the TR is in error here as a result of Beza’s emendation. A couple of manuscripts dating to no earlier than the 14th century is insufficient grounds for overthrowing the entire witness of history. It is an obvious error, one of those 1800 places where the TR itself disagrees against the Majority Text, and in this case, against all texts.
With this background, we note the impropriety of Ruckman’s response. There is no question that Luke wrote “their.” The proper statement then becomes, “To what was Luke making reference?” not, “Luke couldn’t have written that because of what I think Leviticus 12 means.” It is obvious that Luke could speak of “their” purification without having to force such a technical meaning upon his words. When a couple has a baby even today we say “they are going to have a baby.” Of course, the man isn’t going to have a baby at all-the woman is. But, we speak that way because we see couples as a single unit. Why could not Luke speak the same way? Such is perfect reasonable, and it does not require us to throw the entirety of the manuscript tradition away in favor of one man’s idea about what the passage should say. The amazing thing is, Ruckman will admit this very possibility, but only after basing all of his comments on the denial of this very idea!
Now, here is a perfect test case. If you “corrected the Greek with the English,” you would have preserved the INTEGRITY OF MOSES (John 5:45-47) and the SCRIPTURE (John 10:35). However, if you had translated “the Greek” literally (“THEIR”), you would have denied every Hebrew text extant of Leviticus 12, and you would have made a LIAR out of the Holy Spirit. What to do? All Alexandrians are programmed clones; you know EXACTLY what they will do. They are more predictable than sunrise and sunset. They made a liar out of God.
This is classic Ruckman. Ignoring the facts, ignoring the logical problems with his own position, Ruckman plows ahead, using insults and broad brush strokes, unconcerned about anything else. He can’t possibly see that you can allow God, Moses, and the Scriptures to be true without making Theodore Beza the means of new revelation. This unwillingness to recognize the validity of any position other than his own is another hallmark of Ruckman’s writings.
Now White’s reasoning is as follows: “If there are no variants then we have ‘INDEED THE ORIGINAL’ ” (see The King James Only Controversy, pp. 118,124). Since he has found no “variant” against (“their purification”) then “her purification” is not even a possibility. This is the Alexandrian mentality. ON the surface it looks logical. Look a little deeper. White just approved changing more than three thousand words in the King James text (NIV and NASV) on the basis of “variants” that showed up AFTER the AV text was printed.
Ruckman completely misses the point and misrepresents my book in his desperation to find any means of getting around the testimony of the manuscripts against his position. It is rare that one gets a true representation of someone’s position in Ruckman’s writings, and this is the case again here. There is nothing on page 118 that is relevant. Instead, Ruckman is referring to a lengthy endnote about his position found on pages 124-125. I reproduce it here for the reader’s benefit:
This is the true mark of Ruckmanism: the denial, through the use of equivocation, of the existence of the original readings of the New Testament text. Ruckman continuously attacks the use of the word “original” (note the KJV translator’s use of the term in their own Preface!), at times using it to mean “autographs,” the original writings of the apostles themselves, and at other times using it to refer to the original readings that were found in those autographs. We do not have the autographs. In that sense there is no “original” any longer. The whole point of the tenacity of the New Testament text, however, is that the original readings still exist, faithfully preserved in the New Testament manuscript tradition. By denying the existence of the “originals,” Ruckman reduces his reader to a need for a supernatural way to know what the “originals” read. This ignores, of course, the fact that God has preserved the readings of the autographs in the manuscript tradition down through the ages. This is why it can quite properly be said that Ruckmanism engages in a more radical and destructive form of textual criticism than even the “liberals” they decry, for they deny that the original readings have been faithfully preserved, requiring instead the supernatural inspiration of the AV 1611 so as to have certainty on those readings. Note the startling words of Peter Ruckman in his attack upon the NKJV:
It is this maniacal obsession that makes men like Massey, at Rodney Bell’s school, insist that he can find out the EXACT WORD that God gave Paul when Paul wrote his manuscripts; and it is this same egotism that makes patsies like Stewart Custer (Bob Jones University) tell us that he reads the “verbally inspired original” New Testament daily because he “holds it” in his hand (p. 14).
The meaning of these words should not be missed. Ruckman is ridiculing the idea that we can determine what words Paul wrote originally, and that solely on the basis that with a small percentage of those words we have textual variation, ignoring the entire fact of the purity of the New Testament text, and the fact that in the vast majority of the writings of Paul (or any other writer of Scripture) we can determine exactly what was originally written because there are no textual variants to hinder us from doing so! One example of this: at Colossians 2:9 Paul wrote that all the fulness of “deity” dwells in Jesus Christ in bodily form. The term “deity” is the Greek term qeovthto”, the translation of which is discussed in chapter 8, pp. 203-204. There are no textual variants regarding this passage. We can be certain that when Paul wrote to the Colossians he used this very term. How Ruckman could deny this is beyond imagination.
Now, Ruckman says that I have found no variations regarding this passage. That is untrue. I have. I have found one based upon the Latin, and the reading that entered into the KJV via Beza. In fact, if he had bothered to read the book closely, he’d know that Luke 2:22 is listed on page 68 with the variations noted. So much for paying attention before attacking someone.
These came from Mill, Fell, Walton, Bentley, Griesbach, Tischendorf, Hort, Nestle, and Metzger AFTER only “one variant” in three thousand cases was extant. Problem: what happens when “her purification” shows up later in a Greek manuscript? You say, “It couldn’t happen.” It did. Erasmus filled in the last six verses in Revelation from the Latin Vulgate (1520) with NO GREEK MANUSCRIPTS, and later (1800-1900) up showed more than sixty percent of his “fill-in” in Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus, the Syriac, and the Sahidic.
At this point the reasoning becomes difficult to follow, especially since Ruckman seems to be making things up as he goes along, and he provides no citations to back up any of his claims. To what is he referring when he cites Mill, Fell, etc., and speaks about “one variant in three thousand cases”? Who knows? He doesn’t say. Yes, “her purification” is in a Greek manuscript: number 76 from the 14th century. So what? His discussion of Erasmus is simply ridiculous. Erasmus translated the Latin of the last six verses of Revelation back into Greek so as to “make deadline” and get his work to John Froben, his printer. Is Ruckman attempting to defend the words in the resultant translation that have never been found in any Greek manuscript, or is he blowing smoke across the discussion by noting that Erasmus managed to get a little more than half of the section right? It’s difficult to say. One thing is certain: none of this is relevant to Luke 2:22.
You say, “It couldn’t happen.” It did. In 1 John 2:23, the AV translators put half the verse in italics (1611), going by NO Greek manuscripts. Nestle PRINTED THE GREEK TEXT (1979) THAT MATCHES THE ITALICS IN THE KING JAMES RE-CEPTUS. He printed it more than 270 years (1898) after the AV supplied him the words in ENGLISH: not Greek. So White, instead of rushing in like a mad fool, should have been more “scholarly” and checked the facts. He was operating on an emotional level.
If you fail to see how Ruckman got over to 1 John 2:23, join the club. It takes years of being trained to think like Dr. Ruckman before you can follow such twists and turns, and it helps if you spend most of that time calling everyone who thinks differently “mad fools.” To what is Ruckman referring when he speaks of 1 John 2:23? He is, in effect, shooting his own position in the foot. The KJV translators recognized that the second part of the passage was not found in a number of texts.
1 John 2:23 (KJV)
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
What does this tell us? It tells us that the KJV translators were not Ruckmanites, of course, since they recognized that the passage was questionable. Edward F. Hills commented on this:
Similarly, at 1 John 2:23 the King James translators followed the Great Bible and the Bishops’ Bible in adding the clause, he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also, and in placing the clause in italics, thus indicating that it was not found in the majority of the Greek manuscripts or in the earlier editions of the Textus Receptus. Beza included it, however, in his later editions, and it is found in the Latin Vulgate and in Aleph and B. Hence modern versions have removed the italics and given the clause full status. The Bishops’ Bible and the King James Version join this clause to the preceding by the word but, taken from Wyclif. With customary scrupulosity the King James translators enclosed this but in brackets, thus indicating that it was not properly speaking part of the text but merely a help in translation (p. 221).
So what is the issue here? The KJV translators knew of the reading from the Vulgate and other sources (including previous translations). [Note: if you have the “Textus Receptus” published by the Trinitarian Bible Society, the phrase is included therein. This is due to the fact that this “TR” is in fact not a Greek text at all, but is a text based upon the KJV English NT, the textual choices being drawn from the KJV. In other words, that particular “TR” did not exist at the time of the translation of the KJV! There are, in fact, at least 100 different “TR’s” in existence]. They included it in their version. As more textual evidence came to light, the reading was supported, interestingly enough, primarily by Alexandrian and Western texts. In other words (and mark this well, Dr. Ruckman!), the KJV leaned away from the Byzantine texts here, and toward the Western/Alexandrian readings! In many other places where modern texts do the same thing, Ruckman calls them Alexandrian cultists (among other things). When the KJV translators do it, they are divinely guided!
All of this is quite interesting, however, there’s a real problem: what does any of this have to do with Luke 2:22? Nothing, of course. It’s smoke, designed to make it look like Dr. Ruckman has something of substance to say.
Now watch the birdie! In Nestle’s twenty-sixth edition the footnote omits a note found in ALL the editions preceding it by eighty years. It says latsyrs, an’auth “for HER purification”. A question mark follows this; in 1979 Nestle removed that entire piece of evidence. There was SOME evidence for “HER” purification; it just wasn’t in Greek. Note that the verse said “according to the LAW of Moses.” The Law of Moses (Leviticus 12) had no offering for the purification of any woman’s husband; it is only for the woman. Joseph had no purification to offer.
The actual note in the Nestle text reads,
autou Dpc(lat sys, an =authj?)
The note is referring to a Syriac manuscript, specifically Syra Sinaiticus, in the edition of Agnes Smith Lewis, 1910. The note is indicating a question: is the reading of this palimpsest manuscript in Syriac attempting to present the feminine reading here rather than the plural found elsewhere? This is simply a conjecture on the part of Nestle in attempting to explain the Syriac reading. Since no sources have been found to substantiate such a conjecture, it can only be that.
Again, we congratulate Dr. Ruckman on reading the small print in the endnote, but what does this mean? It is more smoke, blown across the real issue. Older editions of the NA text noted a Syriac reading at this point that modern editions don’t. So? How does this help Dr. Ruckman to explain the KJV reading? It doesn’t. But to the person who does not understand such footnotes, it sure sounds like Dr. Ruckman knows his stuff!
So what has Dr. Ruckman offered us so far that is of substance? After we strip away all the bluster, the insults, and the irrelevancies, we have only one argument: Joseph didn’t need to be purified. That argument is easily countered by the idea that couples are often referred to as a single unit, as we explained above. Hence, we have one argument that is easily countered, standing against the vast array of manuscripts that make up the basis of the Greek New Testament. One hardly needs to wonder why Ruckman didn’t want to spend more than five minutes on any one passage in our “debate.” It’s obvious you can blow enough smoke at any passage that no one could possibly dispel it all in only five minutes.
So here is a case where the AV translators saw a Biblical problem that White didn’t see, or didn’t want to see, because he was dead set on FORCING THE BIBLE TO CONTRADICT ITSELF. If he could use the Greek to do this with he would do it; he did it. If the AV is in “error,” then the NIV and NASV have ten times as bad an error, for they made a false document out of the “Law of Moses.”
Note how Ruckman has to camp on his only argument, that being his narrow, unreasonable understanding of what Luke 2:22 must say to him. Once a person realizes that it is quite possible that Peter Ruckman just doesn’t get the point of the passage, and is pressing it beyond the bounds, everything else he has said dissipates into thin air.
White’s job is to prove that “HER PURIFICATION” (AV) is an “error” because the AV chose it instead of “their.” He limited his proof to a Greek text that was extant, which might be, at any moment, replaced (see above). In doing so, he proved HE was in error, and the NIV was in error, and the NASV was in error; “according to the law of Moses,” only Mary needed a purification: “Her purification.” The “mistake” in the AV was another advanced revelation carefully obscured in “the Greek” (see Acts 19:37 and Acts 12:4), as we have said many times before. Furthermore, it told the truth: “their purification” would be a lie.
The circularity of the position is now painfully obvious to anyone who is willing to open their eyes and see. He assumes his one argument about purification is infallible and without the possibility of error. He brings in all sorts of irrelevancies, ignores the facts as they stand, does not bother to tell his readers of the history of the passage (it is doubtful he actually knows it to begin with), and ends up “correcting the Greek” on the basis of the “advanced revelation” found in the KJV 1611! One of the major elements of irony in the whole thing is that the very men he thinks were used to bring about this advanced revelation would have seen him burned at the stake as a heretic on at least a dozen different issues had Ruckman lived in 1611, let alone on the issue of Bible translation!
White proved nothing except he didn’t agree with how a pronoun was translated.
“Their purification” is a possible translation if it is interpreted to mean that, as “one flesh” Joseph would bring the offering for Mary (vs. 24), but it would be a very misleading translation for it would plainly IMPLY that Joseph was impure; he wasn’t. “Her purification” is “according to the Law of Moses.”
First, the issue is not how to translate a pronoun at all: it is which pronoun should appear at this point in Luke 2:22. Secondly, note how Ruckman recognizes the validity of the interpretation I have already offered regarding Mary and Joseph. He then overthrows the vast majority of Greek texts on the arrogant basis that Luke wouldn’t have written that, since it would not be “clear.” One could fill volumes with passages that Ruckman would defend as “original” that are not as “clear” as he or others might wish they were. So what? Another irrelevant argument that holds no water.
Still shaky? All right!
Note: White approves of inserting the word “PRIEST” and “PRIESTLY” into Romans 15:16 (NIV and NASV). THE WORD DOESN’T APPEAR IN ONE SINGLE GREEK MANUSCRIPT EXTANT. Note: White approves of “sorts” and “kinds” added to 1 Timothy 6:10. Neither word appears in any Greek manuscript extant. Note: White approves of translating PLURALS (“Their purification”) as SINGULARS (“HER”), for in the NIV and NASV, one man (Singular) is given credit for two different quotations from two different (Plural) men: Mark 1:2. Note: According to White it is perfectly proper to make a SINGULAR out of a plural in Matthew 28:1 and Matthew 13:31,33.
Again, Ruckman is willing to throw the truth out the window and misrepresent the facts in an effort to obscure the current situation. He throws half a dozen passages at the reader, never once accurately reflecting the material he is referring to in my book. Briefly, with reference to Romans 15:16, here are my comments from The King James Only Controversy:
Many KJV Only individuals see shades of Roman Catholicism in the NASB and NIV at Romans 15:16:
(KJV) That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
(NASB) To be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
(NIV) To be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
The use of the term “priest” is what causes the charges to be made against the modern versions. Yet, again, we find the Greek text in full support of the modern readings. In fact, the entire passage is placed in “priestly” language, for Paul is purposefully drawing from familiar terms from the Old Testament to make a point. Note that even the KJV has the word “offering” in its translation with reference to the Gentiles. Paul is picturing himself as a priest, offering up the Gentiles as an acceptable sacrifice to God, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. The term translated “minister” at the beginning of the verse is the very same term used in the Greek version of the Old Testament to describe the ministering of the priests in the Temple. The word translated “ministering as a priest” by the NASB and “the priestly duty” by the NIV comes from the very Greek term for “priest,” which is found in one Apocryphal work meaning “priestly service.” The modern translations recognize the context in which this word is found and translate it accordingly, bringing out the meaning that is, quite simply, obscured in the KJV. This passage in no way even hints at a sacramental priesthood, as found in Roman Catholicism. The use of the term by modern translations in no way lends credence to the establishment of the entire edifice of a sacramental priesthood.
So you see that Ruckman’s claim that the word doesn’t appear in the Greek is fallacious: it appears in the very terms that are being translated! Ruckman plays upon the ignorance of his readers, seemingly hoping that no one who can check out the facts for themselves will ever face him with them.
Next, with reference to 1 Timothy 6:10, I again quote from my book:
Another favorite passage of KJV Only adherents is found in Paul’s first letter to Timothy:
1 Timothy 6:10
(KJV) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(NASB) For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.
(NIV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Two issues are readily seen by comparing these translations. First, is the love of money the root of evil, or a root of evil? Secondly, is it a root of all evil, or of all kinds of evil? Once again we encounter a situation in which something can be said for each translation. The word for “root” in the Greek does not have the article before it, hence the more literal translation in this case would be “a root,” not the definite the root. The text is not saying that the love of money is the only origin or source of evil, but that it is one of great importance. And is it all evil, or all kinds of evil? Literally the Greek reads, “of all the evils,” the terms being plural. The modern translations see this as referring to all kinds of evil, while the KJV takes all evil as a whole concept. The KJV translation is a possibility grammatically speaking, but it seems to miss Paul’s point. The love of money gives rise to all sorts of evil things, but there are, obviously, evils in the world that have nothing to do with the love of money. A minister friend of mine pointed out with reference to this passage that it is difficult to see how rape, for example, can be blamed on “the love of money.” Such is surely a good question for a person who would insist upon the KJV rendering. In any case, the modern translations are certainly faithful to the text of Scripture and adequate in their translation of the passage.
Finally, with reference to Mark 1:2, I will simply allow the reader to consult my comments on the passage found in my book, pages 166-168.
To say, then, first of all, that Luke 2:22 is an error on the grounds that there is no Greek manuscript evidence for it is hypocrisy, and, secondly, to say that it is in error because a plural has been converted to a singular is hypocrisy. The error is in the hypocrite.
As the reader can now see, Ruckman is either completely ignorant of even the comments of Edward F. Hills, or he is guilty of misrepresentation. Possibly its both. The charge of “hypocrisy” is always best refuted by the facts, and the facts show Dr. Ruckman is on the wrong side of the truth, and seemingly proud of it.
There are no Greek readings in any manuscript for “on whom his” and “with whom He” which will be found in Luke 2:14 (NIV and NASV). Absence of Greek words means nothing to White or his buddies, except where it occurs in a King James Bible.
My comments on Luke 2:14 from my book:
(KJV) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
(NIV) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(NASB) “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
This variant involves the difference between the nominative form of the word eudokia and the genitive form, eudokias. The KJV follows the large majority of Greek texts in having the nominative eudokia, while the modern versions follow a minority of texts in reading eudokias. Dr. Metzger notes that there is a possibility that the move from the genitive to the nominative could have taken place by simple oversight: in the uncial texts at the end of a line the genitive would have looked like this: EUDOKIAc . The final sigma ( c ) would have been much smaller than usual, and hence could easily have been missed in copying. Furthermore, the nominative makes an “easier” reading than the genitive, which speaks of God’s peace seen in the birth of the Savior resting on those that God has chosen to be the recipients thereof. Edward F. Hills cites Theodore Beza, who, though retaining the nominative reading in his text, felt the genitive was the more likely reading: “Nevertheless, following the authority of Origen, Chrysostom, the Old (Vulgate) translation, and finally the sense itself, I should prefer to read (men) of good will.” Compare this insight from Beza, whose readings were preferred by the KJV translators more than anyone else’s, with the words of KJV Only advocate Gail Riplinger on the same passage:
The former has the genitive eudokios [sic], while the latter has the nominative eudokia. Watch out for the letter ‘s’-sin, Satan, Sodom, Saul (had to be changed to Paul). The added ‘s’ here is the hiss of the serpent. . . . In their passion to give space to Satan’s sermon, they follow four corrupt fourth and fifth century MSS while ignoring a total of 53 ancient witnesses including 16 belonging to the second, third and fourth centuries and 37 from the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth centuries.
The difference between textual criticism done on the basis of facts and evidence, and that done on the basis of conspiracies and prejudgment, is plainly evident.
The reader should note something here: Ruckman is willing to grossly misrepresent the Greek text, the translation of the Greek text, and all modern translations, simply because he doesn’t believe his readers will know enough to see his error. Ruckman doesn’t care about scholars. He knows they can see through him in a second. Ruckman only cares about his “followers,” those who praise him and submit to his leadership. The reason why Ruckman does what he does and makes the kind of egregious and silly errors he does is simple: those who seek only power need worry only about those from whom they seek that power. Since Ruckman doesn’t care about anyone who can actually pick up a Greek text and see his glowing errors, he goes ahead and writes this kind of stuff. He knows that for those he is seeking to bring under his sway, it’s not the truth of the statement, its how it sounds that matters.
Having ignored every scholarly canon of discussion and presentation, having argued in circles, blown smoke, called names, and generally made a complete laughing stock of himself from any serious viewpoint, Ruckman can’t avoid blowing up his ego just a bit as he closes his tirade:
At this point I would have ended my defense of Luke 2:22 if the debate had taken place, and poor Jimmy would have thought I was through. But in the rebuttal, I would have put the “quietus” on him. You see I was only playing by THEIR rules. You see, all along I had “the” Greek” text with “her purification” in it. Jimmy just never found that Greek text. I have had it for more than thirty years. “HER PURIFICATION” was in the “original Greek”; Jimmy just had the wrong “original Greek.” On page 108 of The New Testament The Greek Text Underlying the English Authorized Versions of 1611 (“the Greek text followed by the translators of the English Authorized Version of the Bible”), printed by the Trinitarian Bible Society, London, England, you will find it. You will find it on line 15 from the top of the page.
It was in “The Greek text.” Jimmy just was either too stupid or too lazy to look up the text. So he lied like a Persian rug. Lying in the Alexandrian Cult is a “lifestyle.” If he had debated Luke 2:22, he would have lost his eye teeth and his suspenders.
All this amounts to, outside of empty chatter and bluster, is Ruckman’s admission that the Trinitarian Bible Society’s Greek text, which follows the KJV New Testament, and is an artificial text, contains the KJV reading (which I noted above). As far as a meaningful piece of evidence, such is utterly without merit. It means nothing more than saying, “This is the KJV reading,” and I didn’t think anyone was confused about that to begin with.
It would be easy to insult Peter Ruckman in the way he insults others for the simple reason that most of the time he is doing the things he accuses others of doing. He is dishonest, his scholarship is non-existent, and his thinking is muddled. But there are two ways you can communicate such things. You can yell it from the rooftops like Ruckman does, and insult everyone who disagrees with you, or, you can simply take someone’s presentation or writings, respond to them with the facts, and let the reader decide who is lying, who is dishonest, and who is leading others astray. Peter Sturges Ruckman’s writings allow any competent scholar the opportunity of demonstrating the truth about Ruckman’s constant vitriol: it’s really all he has. Would that more of God’s people would see through this disturber of the peace of Christ’s churches!
Ruckman’s Second Example of an “Error.”
It is very difficult to respond to Ruckman’s second “example,” provided in the October, 1995 edition of the BBB, simply because it is so utterly irrational. Again, Ruckman ignores the issue, and hopes his readers won’t know any better. Read his words for yourself:
We are studying seven “errors” in the AV which James White was going to prove, publicly, before he backed down from a debate which he had instigated himself. He didn’t like the terms given him by the “challengee.” We gave him April 1, 1996 at the Bible Baptist Church. He dropped the debate like a hot rock.
Acts 5:30—The idea here is the AV translators were too stupid to see that Jesus was slain AFTER he was hung on the tree. The word order proves there is an “error” in the AV. “It is difficult to see where the KJV derived its translation, as there is no ‘and’ in the text” (King James Only Controversy, White, p. 226).
Now this is the Alexandrian mentality; it is a weird sort of dementia that always infects an egotist as soon as he begins to mess with the AV text. Observe!
1. There is no “came” in 1 Thessalonians 2:5 (NASV). There is no article “the” in 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NIV). There is no “was after flesh” in 1 Timothy 3:16 (NASV). There is no “who had been” in Matthew 1:6 in the NASV. So? There is no “GOD” found in Acts 7:59 in the NKJV. So?
2. Jimmy added the word “BY” to the text under discussion (Acts 5:30), for the plural participle (Greek kremasantes) is in the Nominative case. By, in, to, with, for, etc. refer to the Genitive, Locative, Ablative, or Instrumental cases. White’s grammar screwed up on him.
How did he miss 2 Samuel 10:12 and 1 Samuel 17:51 and 2 Samuel 3:27? Peter, James, and John were Sabbath-observing, temple worshipping, bearded, pork-abstaining, Old Testament Jews in Acts, Chapter 5. They knew all about David SLAYING Goliath with a sword AFTER he “slew” him with a sling. They knew all about Abishai being guilty of Abner’s death, although he was not even in the vicinity when Joab “slew” him. Being three times as intelligent as White or the NASV committee, they knew that Amasa “wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway” AFTER Joab “slew him.”
Every Hebrew manuscript extant reads THE SAME WAY in all three of those passages. That is the Hebrew way of stating it. But the roaring lion of the English Protestant Reformation is not through with silly Jimmy yet!
No Jew “SLEW” Christ and no Jew “CRUCIFIED” Christ.
It was Roman soldiers who mocked Him, whipped Him, and nailed Him.
That isn’t the worst of it. No Roman soldier could have “SLAIN” Christ if he had stayed up twenty centuries.
In his zeal to make a liar out of the Holy Spirit, White forgot that Jesus Christ laid down His life (John 10:15) because NO MAN (Roman or Jew) could “slay” Him (John 10:18). How did White miss the basic theological nature of the Crucifixion? Every Jew in Peter’s audience knew exactly what he was talking about. The Jews murdered Christ (Acts 7:52, Stephen), and crucified Him (Luke 24:20) in the sense that they put Him in a position where He could be crucified (John 19:11). This precrucifixion act (John 19:11) is described as “killing” (1 Thess. 2:15), crucifying (Luke 24:20), and SLAYING Him (Acts 5:30). It was certainly committed BEFORE the Romans took Him into custody. It took place in Mark 14:64. For all practical purposes, they SLEW him the moment they passed the death sentence on Him, and they did do that.
Abishai slew Abner because Abishai was in “kahoots” with his brother. He, himself, never touched Abner. David killed Uriah with the sword of the children of Ammon. Who didn’t know THAT but Jimmy White?
James White missed the entire point of all the verses in both testaments in his haste to destroy your faith in the AV text. And this pitiful whining child now stands before this array of Biblical facts and Biblical truth and complains “It is difficult to see where the AV derived its translation….” Well, stupid, it derived it from the words of the Holy Ghost recorded in the Holy Bible. The error was YOURS from start to finish, and you erred “not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.” Typical Alexandrian scholarship: just as clumsy and as stupid as blind Bartimaeus on an all-night drunk. Didn’t he know that Joseph hung the chief baker (Gen. 41:13)? He hung him before PHARAOH hung him (Gen. 40:22).
White’s “scholarship” above (believe it or not!) was recommended by John MacArthur, John Ankerberg, Bruce Metzger, and D. A. Carson as “superb, accurate, valuable, conclusive, clear, and balanced.” What on God’s earth could be more pitiful or more ridiculous? Total ignorance of Jewish idioms, total ignorance of “accessories before the fact,” total ignorance of shared guilt, total ignorance of Scriptural example, and Scriptural revelation, total ignorance of WHO actually was involved in the crucifixion, plus total ignorance of why the blame was placed on the Jews. And the jack rabbit thinks he is an intellectual who can find “errors” in the Holy Bible. He is Bugs Bunny in Star Trek. “Beam him up, Scotty!”
Does anyone else notice that Dr. Ruckman is a tremendously unkind, unchristian man? And if you survived all the insults, all the smoke and mirrors, and all the irrelevant rabbit trails, did you find out what Ruckman’s response is to the issue of how to translate the passage? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t understand: Ruckman can’t deal with the grammar of the passage, so he throws out as much dirt and dust as he can, hoping no one will notice. It works for his followers, but no one else.
First, contrast the vitriol, hatred, and arrogance of this kind of writing, with what Ruckman was allegedly responding to:
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.
The NKJV corrects the problem seen in the KJV rendering. Peter did not say that the Jews had slain Jesus and then hung him on a tree. Instead, they put the Lord to death by hanging Him upon the tree. It is difficult to see exactly where the KJV derived its translation, as there is no “and” in the text to separate “slew” and “hanged on a tree.”
I then provided a footnote, ignored by Ruckman, for obvious reasons:
The participle “hanging” is a circumstantial instrumental (or modal), expressing the means by which death was inflicted. Dana and Mantey list a syntactical category that would give us the KJV rendering; however, they indicate that this category should be utilized only when the participle does not “present in a distinct way any of the above functions” (H.E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Macmillan: 1955), p. 228). Since the participle clearly fits into one of those preceding categories, there is no reason to choose the category that would give us the KJV rendering.
The problem seems rather obvious: the KJV’s translation is unclear, and is obviously inferior to both the NKJV and NASB renderings. Peter and the Apostles did not say that the Jews had slain Jesus and hung Him on a tree; they were charging that the Jews had slain Him by hanging Him upon a tree. The issue is simple, clear, and is certainly no reason for the use of invectives and insults. But look at how Ruckman behaves in the face of this simple problem in the KJV translation.
What does Ruckman offer of substance in his reply? Almost nothing. By completely ignoring what I actually said, he can point to places where words are supplied in translation that are not found in the text. So what? To any person really wanting to know what the issues are, such a response is dishonest to the core, since it has nothing to do with the passage at hand. We are not talking about the use of implied subjects, verbs, etc., we are talking about how to translate a Greek participial phrase at Acts 5:30.
If one digs through all the anger and hatred, one finds just a few small nuggets to deal with. Ruckman shows his inability to work with the Greek language (why should he, given his position?) when he says my grammar “screwed up” on me because I (and the translators of all other Bible translations!) translated the participial phrase as “by hanging Him on a tree.” Ruckman says that this is an error, because the participle is in the nominative case. Yet, he seems ignorant of how participial phrases are translated. The literal rendering of the phrase is “hung upon a tree.” The issue is how to relate the participial phrase to the finite verb “slew.” By using the term “and” the KJV makes the participial phrase equivalent with the verb, resulting in confusion. I, and all other Bible translators, recognize that this participial phrase explains how the action of the main verb was accomplished. This use of the participle is discussed in any standard grammar. See Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, (Zondervan, 1996), pp. 628-630 for just one example.
It seems Ruckman’s only way of getting around this inferior translation on the part of the KJV is to say that this is some kind of “Hebraism.” But what does any of this have to do with the passage at hand? Nothing at all, of course. But it provides Ruckman with something with which to fill an article and make it appear that he has something meaningful to say. The issue is not who killed the Lord Jesus. The issue is how, and the fact is that Peter’s words are straightforward and simple: the Jews were guilty of His blood, for they slew Him by hanging Him upon a tree.
The next article Ruckman writes contains lines like “Jimmy? Yoo, hoo! Jimbo! Hey deah, Jiiimmmeee!” “elite group of Nicolaitan nuts” “White’s doll babies” and the like. Eventually, it becomes obvious that there is no reason to go on answering those who don’t listen anyway. We have, in this file, documented more than enough about Ruckman to conclude that we need not worry ourselves with anything else he has to say. His followers will follow him no matter how often he is exposed as a fraud.