By David Cloud

August 4, 2003

All emphasis is John Henry's

I had no intention of ever publishing anything about this matter, but I feel compelled to do so because of the some second-hand reports flying around the Internet that contain faulty information about the Dean Burgon Society's position on the Bible as well as about my reason for leaving the DBS. Several have written to ask me about the matter. On the one hand, some who support the critical Greek text are saying that I left the DBS because I believe that the King James Bible was given by inspiration "like Ruckman believes" (some have said this outright while others have implied it). On the other hand, another e-mail note says, "D. A. Waite produced a document for Dean Burgon Society members to sign to affirm that they believe the KJV is NOT perfect. David Cloud refused to sign the document and dropped out of the Society." Neither of these things is true.

Prior to 1998, I had no opportunity to attend the Dean Burgon Society meetings, because I was either living overseas or on an island off the coast of Washington state. In those days, I did have opportunity to meet Dr. Waite personally and to get to know some of the other DBS leaders, and I enjoyed the DBS publications and reports from a distance. In 1998, we moved to the more centralized location of Oklahoma City, and it was at that point that I began attending the DBS meetings. I have enjoyed the fellowship immensely. I agree with these men on the Bible version issue as much as with any other group of men that I know of, and I am privileged to count many of the DBS members as personal friends of long standing.

I believe it was in 1999 that I was elected to the Advisory Council of the Dean Burgon Society.

In late 2002, Dr. D.A. Waite, President of the Dean Burgon Society, sent out a letter that each of the DBS leaders was required to sign. It said the following:

"I have no problem following unequivocally our DBS documents' official position on referring to the King James Bible. If I become, either a DBS Executive member or Advisory Council member, and if I speak at DBS meetings, I will be careful to limit my references to the King James Bible in line with out DBS documents such as: (1) a 'true, faithful, and accurate translation' of which we can say 'This is the Word of God'; or (2) 'The Authorized Version has been, and continues to be, the God-honored, most [or 'only'] accurate, and best translation from the proper original language text of the inspired, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative Word of God for the English-speaking nations.'

"Since our DBS documents do NOT state or teach that the King James Bible (or any other translation) was 'inspired', 'given by inspiration of God' or 'God-breathed' (2 Timothy 3:16), if I speak at DBS meetings, I will not refer to the King James Bible (or any other translation) as being 'inspired', 'given by inspiration of God' or 'God-breathed' (2 Timothy 3:16)."

According to the new DBS statement, therefore, a DBS speaker cannot say that the King James Bible is the inspired Word of God in any sense whatsoever.

I understand that Dr. Waite is attempting to be scriptural in the use of all terms and is also trying to distance the DBS from any form of Ruckmanism. Knowing this and agreeing that the term "inspiration" is used in a particular and technical manner in 2 Timothy 3:16, I almost signed the statement in late 2002. I showed it to my pastor (Wilber Unger, Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario), and he replied on Jan. 20, 2003, "I don't think it would be a good thing to sign." So I didn't, and I therefore cannot be a member of the DBS again until I decide to sign it.

As for the term "inspiration," I agree with Dr. Waite that it applies only to the original giving of the Scripture as expressed in 2 Tim. 3:16. No translation is given by inspiration. The KJV is not given by inspiration, and it is heresy to say that it is. The process that occurred in 1611 was not inspiration and was not 2 Timothy 3:16.

At the same time, I do believe that I am free in a less technical sense to hold up my revered Received Text translation in English (or an accurate translation of the preserved Hebrew and Greek text in German or Spanish or Nepali or any other language) and say, "Thank God, we have the inspired Word of God," being careful to explain that I do not mean that our translations were given by a process of inspiration or advanced revelation or some such thing.

Only in this less technical sense do Dr. Waite and I disagree. I have argued with Dr. Waite that even Dr. David Otis Fuller, one of the founders of the DBS, used such terminology when he was preaching, but that he knew what he meant by it and did not hold to any sort of Ruckmanite view, just as I do not. Dr. Waite replies that while it is true that Dr. Fuller used that type of terminology, in his opinion it is high time that the DBS stop allowing this because (in his estimation) it is not accurate.

Thus, my disagreement with Dr. Waite has to do with more with whether I am free to follow in the footsteps of Dr. David Otis Fuller in this matter. I understand that Dr. Waite is fighting for a consistent technical use of the term "inspiration" and I understand his reasons for doing so. I should also say that Dr. Waite is not trying to control any man's ministry. A DBS member is free to write and preach what he wishes outside of the DBS meetings. This issue pertains only to what is preached during DBS conferences.

I love Dr. Waite and the Dean Burgon Society. I wrote the following to him in January after I decided not to sign the new document:

"I am forced by my conscience to disagree with you on this, plus my pastor has advised me not to sign the new DBS document. That is now a matter of history. But I still consider myself a friend and strong supporter of you and of the Dean Burgon Society. In spite of our differences, we are fighting the same important battle, and there are very few of us in that battle. I have nothing to do with the Ruckman camp, nor do they have anything to do with me. And I have no intention of starting any new camp! I desire to continue fighting this battle shoulder to shoulder. The Lord bless."

Dr. Waite, in turn, has confirmed his love and support for me, and there the matter stands.

Each year at the annual DBS meeting Pastor Bob Barnett of Grayling, Michigan, asks Dr. Waite if he has found any errors in the King James Bible. Dr. Waite has always answered, "No."

To each reader, may the Lord bless, strengthen, encourage, and greatly use you in these confused but spiritually opportune days.


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