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The Folly of KJV-Onlyism

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I suspect that some Christians reading this may be quite surprising to learn that there are churches that vehemently reject every translation of the Bible but the King James Version. This may seem to be a peculiar idea, but where I grew up in the Bible Belt it was not an uncommon notion among congregations from a variety of doctrinal traditions. In subsequent years, I have spent hours researching and much effort painstakingly addressing each aspect of this teaching, but I've learned that such an approach has little effect upon the faithful disciples of KJV onlyism (KJVO). This is because it is a belief system founded primarily upon feelings of piety and the subjective desires of its followers. Such entrenched beliefs are notoriously difficult to counter with rational engagement and evidence, but the persistence of this doctrine makes it necessary to do so.

The central axiom of KJVO is that every English translation of the Bible has been corrupted except for the KJV. To back up th…

Belief is Not a Virtue

I know that it may seem like an odd thing for a Christian to say, but belief is not a virtue, and neither is doubt. I recently came across an Atheist’s how-to video for helping Christians de-convert. One of the first steps in this process, the video claims, is to introduce doubt as a virtue. This is evidence of a popular mischaracterization that associates Christianity with belief, and atheism with doubt. Introduce doubt to the Christian, and you have injected the antidote to his belief. If the defining characteristic of Christianity were belief, it would indeed be a problem. Gullibility would be hardwired into the Christian worldview. And while the widespread success of books about heaven tourism, and the popularity of charlatans like Benny Hinn are painful reminders that there is indeed too much gullibility within the church, this need not, and should not be the case. Belief itself should not be the defining characteristic of Christians, because Christian belief is very narrowly de…

My First Dance

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I attended my first dance yesterday, and not with my wife. (She knows that I own the distinction of being so uncoordinated in my footwork that I failed marching in military leadership school) I was accompanied by the most special 7-year-old girl I know, my daughter. I can’t really convey the intensity of the fish-out-of-water experience that I was having as we pulled up. Dances are not my thing. Actually, socializing, in general, is not my thing, but you do what you must to make the ones you love happy. Walking toward the front door, we passed a man in a custom suit getting out of a two hundred thousand dollar Mercedes SUV. It made my bargain khakis and ten-year-old Ford look quite rustic in comparison. It was clear that he had a message to send, and a social order to impress upon those in attendance.
We started the dance with the Steven Curtis Chapman song “Cinderella,” a song that I generally avoid listening to, on account of its ability to turn even the hardest of hearts into a bo…

Back-Masking Didn't Die

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Once upon a time it was the early nineties. It was a time when roaming evangelists occupied the pulpits of Evangelical churches on weekday revival nights, grasping the rapt attention of paranoid parents and pessimistic blue-haired ladies with tales of back-masking, secret satanic incantations hidden in popular music melodies, and CD’s blessed by witches. Despite the hold that such goose bump raising, hair tingling sensationalism once had upon me, with time and maturity, I realized with some chagrin that these were just religious ghost stories, the evangelical Christian version of a cautionary fairy tale of witches and werewolves designed to control behavior with superstitious fear. If I had hoped that the church has matured beyond these sorts of melodramatic schemes, I was reminded by way of a blog post warning of the dangers of certain adult coloring books, that every generation has its back-masking. In an all too familiar form, the author adopts the posture of a wise and caring fri…