The Bible of the New Counterculture
By Reed Benson
It is generally agreed by historians that with the passage of the centuries people are able to see more clearly the broad trends. It may be hard for us to perceive it now, but it is quite possible that our descendants will look back at the late twentieth century as the point in time when a major cultural shift occurred. Until the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the dominant themes and standards of American culture were founded upon biblical precepts. That’s not to say everyone walked about quoting from the sacred writ, but nonetheless the virtues extolled in the Bible were those encouraged in homes, schools, and general public concourse. Sexual abstinence before marriage was a virtue. Ethnic and religious segregation was practiced. Sodomy was abhorred. Before then, the ungodly counterculture existed, but was a small marginalized community who stayed in the shadows of society.
Then, from the 1950s to 1970s, the ungodly counterculture stepped into the light of day and captured the heart of a generation. The counterculture represented all that biblical mainstream America was not—immoral, rebellious, and hedonistic. "Tune in, turn on, and drop out," was the rallying cry as the counterculture surged forward. By the 1980s, the shift was nearly complete. The counterculture had superseded the old cultural biblical standards. The culture based on scriptural precepts was roughly shoved into the corner. The counterculture became the new cultural standard and the old cultural standard became the new counterculture. The old switcheroo ploy had worked. The new culture wasted no time consolidating its base with legislation and court decrees. Racial integration was forced upon millions of schoolchildren. Abortion was legalized. Sodomites were released into the light of day and publicly exalted. All of the major institutions came under pressure to conform, and they generally did—media outlets, universities, Hollywood, book publishers—they all fell in line with the new cultural warlords. Meanwhile, all of the old culture bearers were craftily marginalized without even knowing it.
Thus, as we stand now at the front end of the twenty-first century, the biblical culture of the past is outside the main flow of American society. People who support biblical culture are increasingly viewed as odd, perhaps bigots, and sometimes dangerous. Such folks have been relegated to subculture status! We who are in this category are now members of the new counterculture.
If the counterculture is to ever have hope of regaining the upper hand, if we wish to become relevant once more, if we are desirous of reclaiming American society, we must have a single standard for our values. We need a touchstone—and fortunately we have one! It is the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. Not just any Bible—but the KJV. Why? Why must it be that translation? Are they not all equal in value?
All right, let us look at the reasons why the King James Bible must be the standard for the new counterculture.
First, we never began losing ground to our adversaries until we set aside the KJV and started a love affair with the now multitudinous new translations. As we look back in time, that alone should give us pause. To put it plainly, in the cultural war, we willingly set aside our sharp broadsword and picked up a butter knife as a replacement! No wonder we began losing!
Second, in the cultural conflict we are experiencing, we need the best tools available. Nothing stems the flood of immorality better than the King James Bible. If the dam holding back the water in a reservoir has a small leak, it is important to plug that leak quickly and completely. Otherwise, the escaping water will rapidly erode the hole causing it to grow. Soon, the small leak has become a flood and the dam is in danger of collapsing. The King James Bible is the absolute best plug to stem the tide of immorality. No other translation seals the breach and allows no wiggle room for immoral activity. Consider Deuteronomy 23:17-18 as a case in point: "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Those who defend the immoral abomination of sodomy find no respite or wiggle room in these passages. Unfortunately, other translations give ground, allowing the defenders of sodomy to argue that it is not strictly sodomy that God is condemning, but sodomy in the context of temple prostitution. The Living Bible, for example, renders verse seventeen as follows: "No prostitutes are permitted in Israel, either men or women." This watered down version leaves the door open for sodomy to be permissible as long as it is not for hire or in a temple. But the King James Bible does not leave such a loophole for immorality. No other translation of the Bible draws such firm moral lines.
A third reason we must claim the KJV as the Bible of the new counterculture is because it also is the best at stemming the flood of heretical teaching. The abandonment of historic Christian theology continues unabated as heresies proliferate at a seeming ever increasing rate. The KJV holds the line of the historic Christian faith better than any other translation. As an illustration, consider the doctrine of the trinity. The clearest verse in the bible for defending the now much attacked historic doctrine of the trinity is 1 John 5:7: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." Many of the other translations either omit this verse, or plant doubt in the reader’s mind as to its validity with a marginal footnote that suggests it really should not be present. The NIV, for example, omits it from the flow of the text altogether, placing it in tiny print as a footnote at the bottom of the page. Obviously, the average reader will consider it as of questionable authority, if they even bother to read it at all. Stick with the KJV for true theology—the other translations will fall short and leave you vulnerable!
Fourth, the rise and decline of the King James Version has a remarkable parallel in the political strength of the two major nations that comprise the English speaking world. The widespread growth of the King James Bible, beginning in the mid-1600’s, coincides exactly with the meteoric growth of the British nation as it sprouted prosperous overseas colonies. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed a veritable explosion in the power, wealth, and prestige of the English speaking world. During this period, the King James Bible was virtually the only Bible in use in Britain, the United States, and the various English speaking colonies round about the world. However, in the twentieth century, both trends were reversed. Other English translations began to proliferate, eroding the dominance of the KJV. Simultaneously, and quickly, Britain was stripped of her colonies. And while America still holds a strong position in the world, we are increasingly isolated, in fact, hated by vast swaths of continental real estate in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Is all of this coincidental? Or, could it be that God’s blessing is related to the Bible we use? Certainly, it would be unwise to casually assume that such a relationship is impossible.
The fifth reason we must claim the King James Bible as the only standard for the new counterculture is because it represents the peak of development in the English language. All languages have their own life cycle. They are generally born amid a rough and tumble clash of cultures. They gradually grow and develop their own unique style, beauty, and modes of expression. Eventually, they stagnate and are finally overwhelmed by a different culture and language. Our English language is no exception to this cycle. The most knowledgeable linguists point unanimously to one period in the history of the English language as representing its peak development: from 1500 to 1650. This was the era of Shakespeare, and not coincidentally, the period that produced the King James Bible. Samuel Johnson, the author of the first major English dictionary, called that era "the golden age of our language." One of the most astute scholars of the English language, Dr. Alister McGrath, had this to say: "The Elizabethan and Jacobean periods [1558-1625] can now be seen to have been the periods in which modern English received its distinctive cast… The King James Bible was published within a window of opportunity, which allowed it to exercise a substantial and decisive influence over the shaping of the English language. It is no accident that the two literary sources most widely identified as defining influences over English—the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare—both date from this critical period." The KJV was the final culmination of a series of English translations produced in rapid succession during this era. It was the last and best English translation from the period of peak development of the English language. It is the best of the best. Just like picking the ripest and most full flavored tomato from your garden requires you to pluck it within a narrow window of time, not a day too soon or a day too late, so was the ultimate English Bible produced in a narrow window of lingustic opportunity. The KJV alone stands as the final and best English translation during the peak period of the English language.
It is said one can be known by looking at who is one’s enemy. If that is true, a sixth reason why the counterculture should embrace the KJV is because the enemies of God hate the KJV above all Bibles in use today. Homosexuals, feminists typified by Janet Reno, and ultra-liberal organizations like the ACLU reserve some of their most vicious attacks against those using and defending the King James Bible. Their vitriolic epitaphs include calling KJV users "cultists," and "hate-filled bigots." Above all standards that such enemies of God loathe and fear is the King James Bible. Why? What is it about the KJV they so despise? It is quite simple really. They know that its represents the values most contrary to their ungodly agenda. They know it contains the strongest and clearest admonitions against their lifestyle and ambitions. Christians must awake! The enemies of God know something about Bible translations many us do not yet perceive!
Finally, a seventh reason why the King James should be the choice of the new counterculture is because, when it comes to Bibles, the KJV is the longest running show in town. It is a landmark of the English language and the Christian religion. Scripture cautions us in this area: "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set" (Proverbs 22:28). Our fathers have set the King James Bible as one of the clearest landmarks in the English speaking world. Let us heed this admonition of scripture!