David Stokes

Define irony. Well, how about this: Staging an event to burn Bibles on what many Protestant Christians observe as Reformation Day, remembering October 31, 1517, the moment in history when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on that church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Word of his bold act of religious courage, and the actual words themselves were, within a few months, in the hands of people throughout his country – thanks to the relatively new printing press.

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It was not only a religious moment – it was a cultural moment. For the first time a revolution would be effectuated via the published word.

Yet, this next week one so-called “pastor” named Marc Grizzard plans a public Bible – yes, Bible – burning, with the other dozen-or-so members of his fledgling Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina. It is, as are all other activities of his church, a DBYOKIGYC event (“Don’t Bring Your Own Koolaid, I Got Ya Covered”).

A Baptist pastor burning Bibles? You bet. He is part of a small, but aggressive, subculture who believe that the only real translation of the Bible is the King James Version, usually referred to by them as “the A.V. 1611” (“Authorized Version” translated in, well, 1611). They like to call themselves as “King James Only” or “KJVO” and they are dogmatic about the idea that somehow, someway, God selected a brief and shining moment 400 years ago to stop language in its tracks; but only one language. And therefore, any effort to translate the Bible any further in English, or into other languages for that matter, is devil-driven.

Lurking behind this is a thinly veiled belief in Anglo-superiority. Those who use the English language are also the Lord’s preferred children. If you look closely at these “ministers” and their churches you will likely also find a measure of ignorance (measure, as in off the charts), racism, white supremacy, and sundry esoteric doctrines bathed in the language of conspiracy. Sundry is a word, by the way, from Hebrews chapter one in the KJV.


David Stokes

David R. Stokes is a best-selling author, pastor, columnist, and broadcaster. His latest book is a novel: CAPITOL LIMITED: A Story about John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Based on a true story, it's about a unique moment in 1947, when Kennedy and Nixon shared