Is The King James Only position a cult or is the Modern Version Only position a cult?

By Dr. Ken Matto

One of the most ludicrous accusations made against those of us who hold to the Superiority of the King James Bible is that we are a cult. In this article we are going to compare the King James Only position to that of the Modern Version Only position and we are going to see which position really exudes the traits of a cult.

Central Leadership

All cults will have begun with a person who believes they have new revelation and that they are the only ones with the truth. For example, Joseph Smith of the Mormons, Sun Myung Moon of the Unification church or Jim Jones of the People’s Temple. The King James Only people do not have any central figure leading them. There have been many who have written books on the matter but none of them are so-called leaders.

The Modern Version Only people on the other hand are all basing their modern versions on new archeological finds and their belief they have found something new in all the manuscripts finds and that is why they believe the King James Bible is ineffective in light of these finds. Their central leaders are every seminary in the world which holds to the belief that God withheld His word for 1800 years. Their central leaders are also Hort and Westcott who developed their counterfeit text to supplant the Textus Receptus. The modern versions fulfill the first trait of cults.

Attacking the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Christadelphians believe Christ was a created being. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim he was Michael the Archangel who became a man. The Mormons see Him as the brother of the Devil. So the cults have a tendency to attack the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. How about the modern versions? The full name of the Lord Jesus Christ is given 82 times in the King James Bible. Here is a tally from some of the modern versions:

Christian Standard Version – 59 Times

English Standard Version – 63 Times

New American Standard Version – 63 times

New International Version (2011) – 60 times

New American Bible Revised Edition (Roman Catholic) – 61 Times

The Gnostic influence on the modern bibles has them removing the full name of the Lord Jesus Christ and reducing them to “The Lord Jesus” “Jesus Christ” or “Jesus.” So the modern versions fulfill the second trait of a cult by attacking the Lord Jesus Christ.

Financial Gain

If there is another great characteristic of a cult, it is financial gain. The Mormons own a massive amount of businesses such as: Excel Entertainment, Deseret Books, Hawaii Reserves and 35 radio stations. The Church of Scientology holds millions of dollars in real estate and massive donations. Roman Catholicism has billions of dollars in real estate and massive donations plus much artwork valued at millions in the Vatican.

When publishers reprint copies of King James Bibles, they are normally to replenish stock since the text of the King James Bible has not changed since 1611 or 1769 when a language update was done. Since 1881 there have been about 300 Bible translations based on the Hort-Westcott Greek text. The latest one is the Christian Standard Version of 2017 which is nothing but a rewrite of the Holman Christian Standard Version. Alistair Begg pushes the Christian Standard Version in the form of the Spurgeon Study Bible; Chuck Swindoll pushes the New Living Translation since his new study Bible is in the NLT; The late R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur both push usage of the ESV because their study Bibles are in the ESV which is a revision of the RSV. As soon as a new Bible version come on the market, Christians are running to buy it and this is what the publishers count on that Christians never question anything. Modern versions are coming off the production line quickly because they make millions of dollars for the publishers and the media preachers who push them. So the modern versions can easily fulfill this third trait of the cults and that is financial gain.

Extra Biblical Authority

The Mormons have the book of Mormon, Christian Science has Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard and the Unification Church has The Divine Principle by Sun Myung Moon. The King James Translators used the Masoretic text (1524-25 Bomberg Text) and they used the 1598 Greek of Beza and compared the former translations such as Tyndale’s. The modern versions have used extra-biblical resources for their translations such as: Biblical Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, Samaritan Pentateuch, the Latin Vulgate of Jerome, Syriac Peshitta. These were used when the editors did not agree on a specific translation of a word or phrase in the Masoretic Text which they claim they emended (altered). Since the modern versions did not look to the Masoretic text and the Received Text and have looked elsewhere they now fulfill the fourth trait of a cult.

Twisted Scriptural Meanings

David Koresh believed that he was the worthy one in Revelation 5:2. Revelation 5:2 (KJV) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? Seventh Day Adventists teach soul sleep based on Ecclesiastes 9:5. Ecclesiastes 9:5 (KJV) For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ was less than God based on 1 Corinthians 15:28. 1 Corinthians 15:28 (KJV) And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The modern versions also twist the meanings and teachings of Scripture right in their English texts.

Who Killed Goliath?

2 Samuel 21:19 (KJV) And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

2 Samuel 21:19 (CSB) Once again there was a battle with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath of Gath. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam.

According to the Christian Standard Bible it was Elhanan and not David as the King James plainly teaches!

How are the ways of the Wicked?

Psalm 10:4-5 (KJV) The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. {5} His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.

Psalm 10:4-5 (ESV) In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” (5) His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.

According to the ESV, the way of the wicked is prosperous not grievous as the King James states. The word for grievous in Psalm 10:5 is the Hebrew word “chil” which is a verb that carries with it the meaning of “having labor pains, be in pain, or writhing.” It is used 51 times in the Masoretic Text. Doesn’t sound like prosperity to me?

The modern versions show they fulfill the fifth trait of a cult

The Teachings Change to fit the need

The Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted the return of Christ. It was supposed to occur in October, 1874, April, 1878, October, 1881, and October, 1914. Last days began in 1799. In 1925 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were to be resurrected. Harold Camping predicted that the Lord would return between September 15-27, 1994, when that did not happen he went on to predict several more dates but May 21, 2011 was his big one where the Lord was supposed to return in the rapture and then for 5 months the earth would suffer the wrath of God and on October 21, 2011 the Lord would return and all the unbelievers would be annihilated after judgment.

The modern versions do the same thing as evidenced in: 2 Kings 23:7

2 Kings 23:7

(NIV) He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the temple of the Lord, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.

(KJV) And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

Notice that the King James Bible is very specific stating “sodomites” which were by the temple. Notice the NIV changes it to “male shrine prostitutes” that were “in” the temple. Do you honestly think that the leaders of the temple would have allowed male shrine prostitutes inside the temple of God? After all, the modern versions do not want to offend the sodomite community instead they want to appease them so they have done away with the proper term “sodomite.”

Mark 1:41

(NIV) Jesus was indignant . He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”

(KJV) And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

“Indignant” means “irate, outraged, or furious.” Roman Catholicism teaches a very angry Jesus and that only his mother can calm him down. The NIV fits right into their teaching. The King James Bible teaches that Jesus was moved with compassion and made the man clean. There is a great difference between being “indignant” and “compassionate.” The modern versions have changed two major teachings here, one to appease the sodomite community and the other to appease Roman Catholicism. The modern versions fulfill the sixth trait of a cult.

Cult Leaders are raised up in churches

Joseph Smith came out of the Methodist Church. Charles Taze Russell came out of the Congregational church and founded the Jehovah’s Witnesses. William Miller left the Baptist Church and started the Seventh Day Adventists. Jim Jones left the Disciples of Christ and founded the People’s Temple. Just like cult leaders, those who become prominent in the Anti-KJB movement and promote the modern versions likewise come from the church. James White comes out of the Reformed Baptist Church. Brooke Foss Westcott came out of the Anglican Church. Fenton Hort came out of the Anglican Church. Robert Bratcher (TEV) came out of the Baptist church. Martin Woudstra came out of the Christian Reformed Church. He was in charge of the Old Testament committee for the NIV. J.B. Phillips came out of the Anglican Church. So it seems just like cult leaders who sprang out of the organized church, those who push the modern versions have also sprung up from the church. The modern versions and their advocates show they fulfill the seventh trait of a cult.


It is very plain that the modern versions and their advocates fulfill 7 common traits of the cults. Their accusations that the King James only people are a cult are unfounded and just accusations made without any proof or substance. I have given 7 characteristics of cults and one can easily see without forcing any meanings, they are compatible with the modern versions. The modern versions are merely “Paper Cults” and should be rejected based upon their serious errors.

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