The Bible Version Debate and Fellowship

Perusing YouTube looking for version related discussions I came across this video, How I Respond to King James Only Christians. In the video Mike Winger explains that when he encounters a KJV advocate he looks to see if that advocate will break fellowship with him over the issue. If the KJV Christian will not, then Mike sees the relationship as two brothers disagreeing and ultimately, amiable.

Being a TR/KJV advocate I agree with his answer in that I do not break fellowship with Christians who do not read the TR/KJV. I would say it is difficult to commit a Christian to the devil for the destruction of the flesh while regularly engaging in formal and informal discussions in an attempt to persuade my interlocutor. Admittedly, I am especially susceptible to interactions of this sort where coffee/tea and pie are part of the interaction.

That said I think it is important to make a few observations which really militate against a kind of kumbaya type of fellowship. First, we can’t both be right. Indeed, I have shared meals with and studied with and fellowshipped with Molinist, paedobaptists, a-millenialists, charismatics and on and on. I disagree with these positions and for important reasons, reasons that should not be trivialized for the sake of harmony.

Either the TR/KJV Christian or the CT/MVO Christian is right, or they are both wrong. That said, while there may be fellowship there will still be things that come between us, and it will remain that way so long as we hold mutually exclusive positions. A cannot be A and non-A at the same time and in the same way. It is not possible that the word of God be the KJV, the ESV, and the Message at the same time and in the same way.

Second, according to Scripture the world will know that we are Christ’s by our love one toward another. So, when two brothers disagree on the topic of which version, it will be our love which will allow us to remain in fellowship with each other and that love will demonstrate that we are Christ’s. That said, we must be clear that given the first argument above, we are not one in Christ. As much as we are united through our love for Christ and thereby our love for each other, the point is that we are not united any more than the Molinist, Calvinist, and Arminian are united in Christ on the topic of the sovereignty of God in the affairs of men’s souls. We are commanded to let this mind – Christ’s mind – be in you. Unless Jesus’ mind is caught between the horns of Molinism and Calvinism, the bride of Christ is not reflecting His mind as a body and institution.

Third, consider Jesus’ teaching on jots and titles. We here at believe that Jesus really taught that every jot and tittle of the original will be preserved by God. Other believe that Jesus’ words are a natural or oriental hyperbole. Still, others claim that Jesus merely meant that the meaning of the Scriptures would be preserved. Again, either one of us is right about Christ’s revelation concerning jot and tittles or all the above are wrong. Either way, at a bare minimum, one of us is not understanding, perhaps even “misquoting/misrepresenting”, Jesus’ teaching. One of us is claiming a Jesus that taught A, and the other of us is claiming that Jesus taught B, and yet another of us is claiming Jesus taught C. On this point we are postulating something of a different Jesus given the existential proximity of Jesus’ teaching/words with Jesus as Word. Put simply, when we comment on Jesus’ teaching we are commenting on Jesus.

I admit that conflict and differences of belief and opinion can serve as a means of sharpening and sanctification. I also admit that such interactions have been and will be a fixture of public and ecclesiastical Christian discourse. Assuming these both, while we can be united around our love for Christ and then for each other, that love has and will include certain disputations and controversies all of which can only ultimately be solved by appealing to Scripture.

“The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures.”

Westminster Confession of Faith, 1.10.

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