It was my ninth grade year at Fourth Baptist Christian School in Minneapolis, MN. I had finished classes for the day and was just stopping by to see my youth pastor. He was a good youth pastor, and in many ways, one of the best that I would have. He took these few moments to disciple me. We chatted for a while and somehow began discussing the Bible.
In the course of conversation the Version Issue came up. He began waxing eloquent on the “pros” or “cons” of different Bible versions. Because of the training he was receiving from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, he believed that all Bible versions in spite of their omissions and additions were the Word of God. He failed to consider the possibility that the Devil just might be interested in polluting and distorting God’s Word, and he dismissed the concerns of those who by conviction held to the King James Version. As he was expressing his far reaching knowledge of Biblical languages, he stopped short and motioned for me to come behind his desk. When I did, he pointed to his open Bible where he had turned to Acts 8:37. I looked down to see where, with a black pen, he had completely blotted out these essential words. In the course of his discourse he said, “You see, Dwight, this verse is not in the original manuscripts.” Who knows what practical benefit he hoped to impart by believing and then teaching this to me. I didn’t think to ask if he had ever seen a copy of the original manuscripts. I didn’t know that he had received this “profound” information from some liberal, Christ-denying author. He was simply parroting what he had heard some seminary professor (naïve at best, deceptive at worst) say about the Bible. In his mind, it was only the logical step to completely mark out portions that “did not belong” in the Sacred Text. For these and a myriad of other Biblical reasons, I have chosen to hold to the Received Text and the King James Bible, and to reject the Westcott & Hort Text and all modern translations. This happened in the 1980’s. Apparently at Central, not much has changed.
The current president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Kevin Bauder, has been offering, for all who care to read, a wide smorgasbord of self-conflicting and Bible-deficient tomes. In part 22 of his series he dismissed the need to expound on 2 Thess. 3. This is a sad display of what happens when a man or institution turns to human reason instead of the Bible for their moorings. In his most recent installment, he levels another illogical attack against anyone who holds to the King James Bible and its underlying Received Text. To his credit, he did differentiate between those who simply hold to the above mentioned position and those who believe in double inspiration, or that one can only be saved from the King James Version, and a few other aberrations. However his most recent diatribe is flawed on several counts.
If there were time, we could show that his attack misses the point of why some brethren have come to these convictions. We simply believe that this issue is a part of defending the great doctrines of the Inspiration of the Scripture (I Timothy 3:16-17, II Peter 1:19-21), the Preservation of the Scripture (I Peter 1:23-25, Psalm 12:6-7), the Infallibility of the Scripture (Proverbs 30:5-6) to name a few. We believe that the Devil has, since Genesis 3, tried to alter, distort, confuse, and pervert God’s Word (Genesis 3:1, 4-5; Luke 4:10). We believe “That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We believe that adding to or taking away from the Word of God is a direct violation of Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18-19 and brings the severest of God’s judgments. We believe that every generation has had and will have a perfect copy of God’s Word available to them (Isaiah 59:21). This is the point Bauder completely misses of why we hold to this conviction.
If we cared to, we could at length address Kevin Bauder’s cloaked love for and affinity to the founder of his institution, Richard V. Clearwaters. Bauder attempts to quote Clearwaters as being on his side of the argument. In fact, Clearwaters was not. He said on page 86 of his autobiography On the Upward Road, “All of the Bible is important. Jesus referred to even jots and tittles. We cannot say this part is important in the Bible and this part isn’t important. If we were to remove some part of the Bible at some time and place, it will be missed.”
Again on page 87 he stated
“Every word is important, a Biblicist will appeal to the words and all the words of Scripture.” On page 88 he declared, “If you violate one part, you violate it all. It’s all a solid unit put together. So I think a Biblicist gets to be a lonely person first of all because he is called a ‘literalist’ or a ‘worshipper of a black book’. He believes the whole Bible is inspired, every word and every jot and tittle…Many translators do violence to the Word of God. For instance ‘Through the blood of His cross’ Phillips omits the word ‘blood’, so that it reads, ‘Sacrifice of the cross’. These self-styled translators are diluting (polluting might be a better term) the Bible by twisting it to accommodate their updated theology.”It doesn’t sound like Bauder and Clearwaters are on the same page.
If we so chose, we could highlight his misunderstanding or misrepresentation of a “middle of the road” position. He, along with others of his ilk, is trying to redefine terms such as Historic Fundamentalism, New Evangelicalism, Conservative Evangelical, etc. In other words, he is attempting to shift things to the left while claiming all along that it is just the center he is calling people toward. This sounds like some political double speak I’ve heard recently.
If we wanted, we could underline that, while he is for the time being president of a Theological seminary that claims to be Biblical in every way, and while he is allegedly instructing men in the ministry both onsite and online concerning pertinent Biblical topics, he does not cite one verse of Scripture, KJV or otherwise, to back up his arguments. This absence of an appeal to and from Scripture is a common characteristic of Kevin’s writings though the school over which he presides claimed Isaiah 8:20 as its founding and theme verse. We could underline this discrepancy if we wanted to, but we won’t.
If there were enough space, we could emphasize that he never once mentioned that this is a textual issue at its core. One would expect more intellectual understanding from the current president of a seminary. If there were more space, we would address this, but space is limited.
If we desired, we could note Bauder’s papal like edict to “in his opinion” tell us all when, where, and from whom to separate without one Biblical reason to do so. Again this seems strange coming from one who professes to know so much (23 installments at this point) about the matter of our “differences.” If we desired, we could note this, but desire is waning.
What we’d like to highlight is a couple of significant matters. First, Kevin Bauder, tells us that he prefers the King James Version, that he preaches and teaches from it, has memorized it and even quotes it. He declares the King James Version to be the Word of God, states that it is authoritative, and holds it in high esteem. However, when someone else says they too prefer the King James Bible, but for reasons other than Kevin Bauder’s, we are to separate from them. This is just arrogance!
Second and most interesting are the implications of his call for wholesale separation from those who believe the Bible. When naming several good churches and institutions, Kevin summarily lumps them into a hyper-fundamentalist category. Then he associates them in the same broad brush with Billy Graham and Harold J. Ockenga? He then declares that these “hyper-fundamentalists” should be separated from with more speed and more publicity than even the “grandchildren” of the above mentioned compromisers.
Just what does this mean, Dr. Bauder? There are thousands of young people who matriculate each year to Bible-believing schools such as Ambassador, Baptist College of Ministry, West Coast, Heartland, PCC, Crown, New England Baptist, Golden State, and others. Have they missed the will of God for their lives? Should the students attending these schools immediately sever their enrollment? Should they then come flocking to your bastion of life and “truth?” Should the pastors who support and preach for these institutions refuse to do so immediately at your word? What about the evangelists who hold to the King James Bible for reasons different from your own? Should the pastors who have them scheduled cancel their meetings on the spot? Should the missionaries who hold to a King James Bible position be dropped because they haven’t checked in with and been cleared for support by Kevin Bauder or Central Seminary?
And what of the many good men who have given us helpful, solid, and balanced information on such a crucial subject as the Word of God? Should men like Bud Calvert, Dell Johnson, Joel Mullinex, Rick Flanders, Ron Comfort, Sam Davidson, Kevin Folger, John Goetsch, Lloyd Streeter, and a host of other wise men be cut off, ignored, and rejected because they don’t line up with your line of thinking? How about the creationist, Henry Morris, who in his life not only defended creationism, but also the King James Bible? Should his writings and teachings on this subject be ridiculed and dismissed?
Should we follow your lead to separate from, ignore and disdain the “hyper-fundamentalists” who in spite of graduating from Central, came to their own personal conviction that the Received Text and the King James Bible should be embraced and the modern Eclectic Text and its offspring versions should be rejected? These would include such godly men as David Sorenson and Charles Surrett to name a few. Are you calling for separation from these men as well?
Are you implying that Bob Jones University should no longer host their long time friend Ian Paisley who wrote “My Plea for the Old Sword?” Though he is not even a Baptist he has enough sense to note the folly of embracing modern versions and their underlying false text.
Does this mean that you are even calling for those who worship at the altar of the French theologian John Calvin to immediately halt their study of his writings? After all, even he held only to the Traditional Text that underlies the King James Version. Kevin Bauder, just what exactly do you mean by this call for a full-blown separation from the proponents of the King James Version and the Received Text?
The irony of this whole matter is this. While Dr. Bauder is trying to tell Independent Fundamental Baptists to separate from those who simply believe the Bible and denounce the Devil’s attempt at perverting it; he is, along with others, leading an all out charge back into the realm of the New Evangelical camp! He has an undeniable affection for the conservative evangelicals, and claims they are not like their “grandfathers.” A compromiser is still a compromiser even if he is called a “conservative.”
Consider for a moment these “conservative evangelicals.” These are the ones who accept and overlook pedo-baptism (John Piper, Ligon Duncan). These are those who play rock music in their public worship services and teen gatherings (John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, etc. ad nauseum). These men associate freely with liberals and new-evangelicals such as Billy Graham (Al Mohler) and such as Rick Warren (John Piper). These are the conservative evangelicals who remain in a denomination that promotes women preachers (John Piper). These so-called conservative evangelicals who teach that the Charismatic sign gifts are active and should besought after today (Piper, Mahaney). All of these men and others, who Kevin instructs us to welcome with open arms, are constantly promoting the aberrant heresy called Lordship Salvation. One question being asked is, “Which is more grievous, to believe the King James Bible for reasons different than Kevin Bauder or to promote the Amillenialism of Mark Dever and his allegorical interpretation of Bible prophecy? This is just to scratch the surface of their errors, and yet we’re being lectured by an out of touch seminarian on why we should embrace these men and separate from those who just believe the old Black Book! What gives?
A well respected pastor friend of mine shepherds a church in a northern state. The former pastor of this church was a young Central graduate, who sat under the tutelage of Kevin Bauder. This former pastor was teaching about the Bible during a Sunday school class. Because of his aforementioned training and the unbiblical bias that accompanies it, he was teaching that the Words of God are here, there and everywhere, lost in the sea of extant manuscripts and various and sundry translations. Needless to say, this created confusion amongst the church members. Some of them began to question him and his conclusions. One converted Catholic church member held up his King James Version and asked, “If what you are saying is true, is this the Word of God?” The former pastor responded, “No!” That church member shrugged and said, “What’s the use?” Then he walked out and hasn’t darkened the door of any church since. If what the former pastor is teaching is true, why should he? Brethren, the answer of this former pastor is wicked unbelief, and it is time we call it just that!
Now when unbelief calls for separation from belief, and at the same time leads the naïve to unite further with unbelief, all under the guise of belief, someone should stand and clarify the matter. Kevin Bauder, let’s settle this here and now. Those of us who happen to believe that God did inspire his Word and preserve it for every generation; those of us who unashamedly hold to the Received Text and the King James Version of the Bible and reject all modern translations that flow from the Westcott & Hort Text; those of us who do believe that the Devil is and has been working to pervert, omit and add to God’s Words; we have long since been suspicious of your direction and motives. Now we know who you really are. If you and your friends want to leave us to hold hands with and draw those you seek to influence into the chilled night air of New Evangelicalism, the door is wide open and they will happily receive you.
On September 6, 1977, Ronald Reagan spoke in his daily two minute radio broadcast on the subject of the Bible. What he said was fascinating. He showed such simple child-like faith in the Word of God that all would do well to emulate. As he showed the King James Bible to be the best-selling book in the entire history of printing, he questioned the newest attempts made to improve it and “make the Bible more readable and understandable.” He went on to compare the beautiful and accurate language of the King James Version with the cheap, inaccurate, and irreverent language of the modern versions. He concluded by saying,
“The sponsors of the ‘Good News’ version boast that their Bible is as readable as the daily paper – and so it is. But do the readers of the daily news find themselves moved to wonder, ‘at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth’? …Sadly the tinkering and general horsing around with the sacred texts will no doubt continue as pious drudges try to get it right. It will not dawn on them that it has already been gotten right.”Mr. President, another “pious drudge” in Plymouth, MN, has officially decreed that it has not been gotten right. In fact, according to him, folks like you and me should be immediately severed from his world. Mr. President, thanks for the warning.
Evangelist Dwight Smith – email@example.com
Evangelist Dwight Smith Ministries
For Related Reading:
A Letter from Dr. R. V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauderby Evangelist Dwight Smith
“It is astounding to me that in many of your recent writings on a professedly fundamental, Baptist site, you seem to constantly extol the ‘virtues’ of evangelical Protestants while, at the same time, deriding the ‘vices’ of Fundamental Baptists…. I have observed an inordinate affection towards pseudo-intellectual teaching and a disdain for old-fashioned, confrontational, Bible preaching…. I am grieved when I see you lauding extreme Calvinists who are not even Baptists. Brother Bauder, they and their ilk are not responsible for founding the school called Central…. Dr. Bauder, all given appearances seem to indicate you are intentionally trying to lead those who follow your writings, the students of Central, and even Central itself away from the Testimony upon which it was founded and into the compromising orbit of protestant evangelicalism.”Muddying the Clearwaters by Ps. Marc Monte
“Kevin’s charge that ‘the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp’ constitutes nothing short of slander. Perhaps Dr. Bauder does not know the fundamentalists I know. I can name scores of pastors who regularly and rigorously defend the gospel…. Dr. Clearwaters understood that the local church was charged with the propagation of the truth. He founded a seminary, not to undermine local church authority, but to bolster the prestige of pastors in their efforts of defending the faith.”Kevin Bauder: It Won’t Fly With Those of Us Who Know
Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?
John MacArthur Refreshes Kevin Bauder’s Short Term Memory: “Conservative” Evangelicals Extended Christian Recognition to Roman Catholics
Site Publisher’s Note:
My personal preference for preaching/teaching and study is the KJV, believing it to be the most reliable version of God’s Word today. I do, however, allow for other believers soul liberty and autonomy of the local church to choose as they feel lead.
Originally appeared December 2010 as-
“Pious Drudges” Evangelist Dwight Smith Responds to Dr. Kevin Bauder’s Now, About Those Differences, Part 23