We all could be kinder, nicer, love more, forgive more. I believe that. However, how “nice” we are does not mean we are correct when we speak about the Bible, salvation, or any number of theological issues. God’s transcendent truth decides right and wrong, good and evil – not how we feel about it, or how we feel about the persons presenting it.
Furthermore, this is not an issue of one side is always nice and the other side is always naughty (i.e., mean, mean-spirited).[i] Both sides in the Bible versions debate can be both nice and mean. It is a matter of how the different sides approach this, their “style.” The “fundamental” side (and KJVO in Bible version debates) tends to express their meanness plainly without any façade.[ii] The “neo-conservative” side (and MVO in Bible version debates) tends to dress up their meanness in “nice clothes” so we can focus on the clothes instead of the meanness. This is especially noticeable to me because I have worked part of my life in construction, where strong men may get mad and express it forcefully; and part of my life in education, where you seldom see much of the in-your-face mean and nasty stuff. Instead it is more likely “stab you in the back with one hand while shaking your hand with the other” – all the while keeping a bright smile on the face, being quite “nice.” There is something better about the severe blow that you can see coming from someone you know is mean, as opposed to the sucker punch that is about to blindside you from someone whom you thought was nice![iii]
This “nice equals right” mentality rises from secular, saccharine, and silly views of what “nice” is. In support of this – or because of it – both secularists and people called Christians have recreated Jesus in their own image of “nice.” The Jesus of the Bible tells us to turn the other cheek. The Jesus of the Bible also turns over the tables of the moneychangers. The Jesus of the Bible tells us to speak the truth. The Jesus of the Bible also calls people hypocrites, serpents, and vipers. I have a feeling some people need to reassess the concept of Jesus that they have installed in their minds.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17
“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Psalm 119:160
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth…” John 14:6
“…yea, let God be true, but every man a liar…” Romans 3:4
[ii] Perhaps this is a general trait of “Fightin’ Fundamentalism.” Additionally, too many King James supporters have drunk from the fountain of Peter Ruckman’s nastiness. I lived 60-something years of my life without owning or reading any of his works, except one small pamphlet on segregation that another preacher gave me years ago. Last year I decided I might not be as knowledgeable as I should be on the KJV debate issues without actually reading something Ruckman wrote, so I ordered a couple of his books. If the rest of his books are anything like those, they could be edited down to about half size by taking out all the bombast about how wrong everyone is except him.
[iii] Example: “I’m going to guess you can’t read the original Bible languages,” by a guy who might not be able to read them in the way regular folks think folks mean when they say they can read something.