Isn't a sign of a cult, a group who thinks they know a spiritual truth that the rest of Christianity doesn't know? Shouldn't you be leery of a group that claims to have a corner on truth, who are the only true defenders of a doctrine that the rest of Christianity rejects? Doesn't that make you a little suspicious? If the King James Only movement was right, won't God let more people in on it? Why is it that only independent fundamental baptists hold to this truth? Are there no good spiritually sensitive people outside of the IFB? If you are wrong on something as basic as the Word of God, how can you be right on other spiritually discerned matters?
Now I realize there are many variations within the King James Only movement. For some, to put it on the level of doctrine would be an overstatement. They are willing to call it a preference. I'm ok with that. But when you state it in your doctrinal statement, or place it in your statement of faith, that seems to me to border on heresy. When talking to people who are unfamiliar with the KJVO movement, they are surprised when I tell them there is no consistent agreement on why people are KJVO. If you locked 10 KJVO preachers in a room and forced them to come up with a mutually agreed upon statement of why they are KJVO, you would soon see blood running out from under the door. Is it inspired, divinely preserved, or just better because of the manuscripts used? Can you correct the Greek with the KJV? Were the translators inspired? Did you need to know the original languages at all? What about foreign translations? Can a person be saved reading another version? I have heard all these viewpoints defended & debated.
One thing that had always bothered me when I preached, was how much time I had to spend on explaining the King James English to my listeners. I love interpreting the scriptures, but not teaching old English. By the way, that is another thing that bothers me, it is disingenuous to put "1611" on a Bible that is not from 1611. Have you ever seen a page from the 1611 edition? You can't hardly read it. The edition of the King James used today is from 1769.
After leaving Florida, I went to work for a friend of mine who pastored a church near Dayton, Ohio. I was primarily the youth pastor, but had other duties also. As I began to teach teenagers again, I was still using the KJV. I was shocked by how poorly the students read. Having someone read out loud was embarrassing, to me and to them. It was especially troubling to see them try to read the KJV. It was like a foreign language to them. Yes this says something about the state of public education, but it also presents obstacles to those of us who teach the Bible. I am not for dumbing down scripture, but what good is a Bible that no one can comprehend? Are we doing anyone any good by holding to the majesty of the KJV?
In 1995 James White wrote "The Kings James Only Controversy." Reading it helped clear up those nagging thoughts I had about other versions. His side-by-side comparisons of newer versions and the KJV really opened my eyes. Now I realize I could have and should have made those comparisons myself, but I had been to afraid to find the truth. I think I recently saw that a new updated edition of the book is coming out, I look forward to seeing the new information.
The final straw in my conversion from KJVO was a debate I saw from the John Ankerberg Show. It was a few KJVO guys and translators from other versions. It's been a long time since I saw it, so the details are fuzzy, but I do remember that if it had been a ball game, the score was Non-KJV 100 KJVO 0. It was embarassing. What really struck me was the man representing the New King James. He did a better job defending the KJV than the supposed King James proponets. I was impressed by his sincerity to have the New King James as close to the King James as possible. His attitude alone was enough to convince me that I had be misled about other translations. The matter was closed as far as I was concerned. If God allowed me to pastor again, my only non-negotiable was that I was going to preach from the New American Standard Bible. A close second was that it not be an IFB church.