|March 11, 2011
|John Shrader, pastor at Heritage Bible Baptist Church since October 2008, is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the completion of the King James Version of the Bible. He’s collected original pages from the Bible, shown here framed, and he has a 400th anniversary edition of the Bible, which is opened on the table. Neita Cecil photo
Local pastor seeks revival of King James Bible
By Neita Cecil
The Dalles Chronicle
John Shrader, pastor of Heritage Bible Baptist Church in The Dalles, is only 33, but he’s spent almost half his life in a passionate study and defense of the King James Version of the Bible.
He grew up using it, but discovered when he went to Bible college that it’s a version so out of favor that everyone from his professors to his peers challenged him on why he used it. He even switched colleges because of it.
He became curious and decided to find out for himself why there was such vehement disagreement over differing versions of the Bible.
He came away convinced that the King James Version is a true, pure translation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts that form the basis for the Bible.
King James I of England commissioned the translation, which took over 40 people eight years to finish. This year marks the 400th anniversary of its 1611 completion, and Shrader has a large anniversary edition of the King James Bible.
Shrader, who has a master’s degree in biblical studies, knows it can be controversial to talk about the competing versions of the Bible, and said his goal in promoting the King James Version “is not to be divisive, it’s simply to be instructive.”
He said he was just presenting his own perspective, and “We’ve got Baptists in this town that don’t agree with me. My goal is to spark reasoned and cordial discussion.” He’d like to “spark people’s curiosity to examine the facts for themselves.”
“My perspective is this: The Bible says it is pure. If you want to believe the Bible you have to use a Bible that’s consistent with its own promises.”
The last two verses in the Bible, in Revelations, say nothing will be added to the Bible and nothing will be taken out, he said.
When he did his own research, he learned that the King James Version was the authoritative text for centuries, but was challenged in the late 1800s, when two men used different source texts to create what has become modern versions of the Bible.
Shrader grants that the archaic words used in the King James version can be difficult to understand, but the modern versions of the Bible have not only modernized the language, but, in key places, have changed the very concepts of the faith.
He said many people may not even be aware that the Bible they’re using has been changed.
The two “liberal” theologians who created the modern version of the Bible, Westcott and Hort, used texts that were known and rejected by the King James translators, he said.
“You can see with your own eyes that multiple people have edited and changed those manuscripts,” he said. “That’s why nobody used them” in creating the King James version.
There are over 5,300 Greek source texts – which are multiple copies of the same books in the New Testament of the Bible — and between 93 to 97 percent of those texts are consistent with each other, Shrader said.
He said the men who did the modern translation used the tiny percentage of texts that are not consistent with the vast majority. These texts they used were older versions, and were considered better for that reason, but they were also heavily edited, with up to 10 changes to them.
The texts they used “deviates, it disagrees. That small percentage has become the favorite and has become the source text for the modern version, either in part or in whole,” he said.
Modern Bibles are often called the New American Standard Version or the New International Version.
“I have probably 6-7,000 volumes in my personal library,” Shrader said, “and by far the largest section would be the section on this issue right here – which Bible should you use? Does this matter?”
He maintains it does matter, because key parts of the faith are removed in some modern versions. For example, the ‘virgin birth’ of Jesus in the King James Bible has been morphed into the birth by ‘a young woman’. Now, the reason why that’s important is because it’s no miracle for a young woman to conceive.”
Some 350 Bible passages are significantly affected by the modern version, and nearly 10,000 words, or 45 pages of the Bible, were omitted.
One example is John 6:47. The King James Version says “he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
“The New American Version says ‘He who believes has everlasting life.’ Now, those two little words – ‘on me’ – are very important because they show the object of the belief: the belief is in Jesus Christ.”
The New International Version strikes Acts 8:37, “which says that a person must believe before they can be baptized.”
In the King James Version, Phillip said, “you have to believe before you can get baptized.”
This is contrary to denominations that allow baptism of babies and small children.
The King James Version not only had better translations, but “superior theology. The theology of the King James Version represents a historic Christian position whereas the modern versions are being altered so that they will be more cross-denominational, ecumenical. In other words, we want everyone to have something that they’re comfortable with.”
“Instead of calling culture to follow the Scriptures, they’re trying to fit the Scripture to the modern culture,” he said.
The concept of Hell, which is depicted in the King James Version, has also been watered down in modern Bibles.
In John 3:15, modern Bibles “Take out three words: ‘should not perish.’ So why is that important? Because people who believe in him should not perish, and there’s a penalty for not believing in Jesus Christ,” Shrader said.
He said some denominations don’t believe in Hell. “They would have to explain these next two verses away, Mark 9:44 and Mark 9:46.” Those verses talk about a place “where the worm dyeth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
Modern bibles put those verses in brackets. “You’re finding that many, many people today, they’re moving to an all-positive message. I’m all for the positive — the word gospel means Good News — but it’s not good news if there’s no bad news.”
He invites anyone who wishes to discuss the merits of the King James version to call him at (541) 298-1727.
To publish news events here or to suggest stories for the church page, contact Elroy King at The Dalles Chronicle. Churches are also encouraged to submit their bulletins that list special events for their church.
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Gateway holds two worship services, a traditional service at 8:30 a.m. and a contemporary service at 11 a.m. This Sunday, Nick Reyes, the youth director, will be speaking on The Gospel of Pain.
To publish news events here or to suggest stories for the church page, contact Neita Cecil at The Dalles Chronicle. Cecil is on temporary assignment to the faith beat. Churches are encouraged to submit a weekly copy of bulletins with upcoming events.
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