King James

Personal Background

by Gary Amirault

Those of you who are serious Bible students know that for the last 300 years or so, the King James Bible has been, by far, the leading English Bible translation. Keep in mind, most of the world does not speak English, nor reads English Bibles. In recent years, the KJV has been sliding in its popularity. Today, the New International Version is the leading best-seller.

Since many of these new translations differ from the King James translation in many very important areas, some of which clearly touch on major doctrines of Christianity such as predestination, hell, trinity, etc., there has been a major push by predominantly fundamentalists from various denominations to discredit these new translations. These groups have written many books whose purpose is to teach that the King James Bible is the only inerrant, inspired Bible, and that all others fall short of the mark. Many books have been written trying to connect all these other translations as either "Satan inspired," "Roman Catholic Perversions," or inspired by the "Alexandrian Cult."

Most of these books that claim to be the "Defenders of the Faith" spend many words to try to discredit the translators and publishers of these other translations. Translators of Bibles other than the King James have been discredited in many ways by the KJV camp. The NIV, according to one author, is unacceptable because it has been said one of the members is a lesbian. Many other translators have had their names connected to various cults, labeled New Agers, Luciferians, members of the "Alexandrian Cult," etc.

I do not intend to follow up on everything written by the KJV camp because the number of books and things they say is almost like the flood that proceeds out of the mouth of the dragon in the book of Revelation. As a matter of fact, the leading KJV Only book is all-black with a red dragon on it. Many of these books come with some very bizarre and demonic looking covers. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

In following up some of the accusations aimed at Bibles other than KJV, I discovered most of the accusations were either completely false, or grossly distorted versions of reality. Often, words were taken completely out of context to make a person look like they were saying exactly the opposite. The NIV was completely rejected by one writer because one of the translators was said to be a lesbian. I am not saying that everything these authors were saying about these translators was false, but it was very clear, objectivity was not their guiding light. I am also not saying all these other Bibles are perfect. In my opinion, all the leading English Bibles fall short of perfection, and our Father planned it that way. I do believe they will get more accurate as days go by, especially more accurate than the KJV.

Having at least 12 books in my possession that teach all other Bibles other than the KJV should not be read, I noticed many of these writers spent many words maliciously smearing the translators of these other Bibles. I wondered if King James himself was put under the microscope, how would he come out? It occurred to me, very little is usually said about King James' personal life by the KJV camp. I wondered if the KJV Only camp ever investigated their own heritage. Surely, I thought, as much mud as they were slinging, their backyard had to be clean.

Nevertheless, I went to a couple of conservative Protestant seminaries and pulled out a few biographies about King James I of England, commissioner of the King James Bible. So that I am not guilty of smearing King James with my words, I will just quote these biographies written by English authors themselves. I could have selected some books written in the Cromwell era which were in the "smear" category. I chose not to use these sources. "With what judgment ye iudge, yee shall be iudged." (Original KJV, including its spelling)

Please pay very careful attention to what I am about to say. Listen to my heart. I am not writing this article to smear King James or to smear anyone. King James will stand before His Maker and stand he will. My purpose in bringing these historical facts to light is merely to help those of you who are reading some of these fundamentalist writings and wondering how much of it is true. I want to show those of you who do not have the time to do research, that the mud being slung by this camp is very dirty, but it is their own dirt. The ground they stand on is a pigpen, not Holy ground.

In this article, we will not deal with the contents of the King James Bible. We have many other tapes and literature dealing with that subject. We will only deal with some of the personal life of King James and his court. Remember, our aim is not to judge King James as being fit for the fundamentalist version of hell, nor is it to sling mud because we cannot defend our views with sound reasoning and research. No, we just want to let you, our readers, who write to us and ask us many questions on this subject, to be informed about a few historical matters that the KJV Camp would prefer we don't find out about. Once we know these things, they cannot use their greatest weapon anymore . . .mud.

Below are some quotations out of several biographies which I checked out of a conservative Presbyterian seminary and a conservative Lutheran seminary.

From the book James I by Otto F. Scott published by Mason/Charter 1976:

Carr's ascendancy came with a rush, however, for which the English were not prepared. They knew the king's leaning toward handsome young men and were not naive about its meaning. But James had kept his tendencies under at least quasi-control for many years and had not succumbed completely to his inclinations since the days of Esme' Stuart. Since then he had married and fathered three living children and had played the role of family man with some success. Suddenly, at the age of forty-one, he relapsed completely; openly succumbed to homosexuality and fell in love with a nineteen-year-old youth of no great intelligence. [page 306]
Meanwhile, he enjoyed his court, and Carr. His new favorite was perfect for him in every way-including a capacity for bisexuality. James liked men who liked women; he was not jealous of their heterosexual affairs. On the contrary, he enjoyed hearing details; they seemed to help convince him of women's inferiority. [Page 311]

For an example of the level of education, scholarship, and science in 1611 England:

For several weeks he (King James's son) tried to conduct his usual regimen, but was pale and finally had to go back to bed. The doctors then tried powdered unicorn horn in julep. The prince then complained that his head still hurt, so the physicians shaved his hair and applied the still-warm bodies of freshly killed pigeons and roosters. His condition grew worse. [Page 325]

From The Wisest Fool in Christendom by William McElwee published by Harcourt, Brace and Co., we read a letter King James wrote to Somerset. It was over 2000 words long. Here is a small portion of it:

I leave out of this reckoning your long creeping back and withdrawing yourself from lying in my chamber, notwithstanding my many hundred times earnestly soliciting you to the contrary, accounting that but a point of unkindness. [Page 216]

From Jacobean Pageant by G.P.V. Akrigg published by Hamish Hamilton in 1962 we read about how King James selected government officials. Many of the books about King James discuss at length his sales of titles for money. The below account is just an example:

At times of acute financial embarrassment, the King might find that the only rewards he could give were titles of honour. Even these could be made a source of profit by the courtier who petitioned not for a title for himself but one to sell to someone else. In 1619 the Earl of Huntington made 2,500 pounds when he sold Sir Richard Wingfield the title of Viscount Powerscourt. Perhaps the most gratifying reward of all for a courtier, however, was when he received from the King not only a title for himself but a grant of estates to allow him to live on the scale his new dignity demanded. When Sir John Ramsey was created Viscount Haddington, he received lands worth 1,000 pounds per annum to support the title.

Not everybody prospered at court. Some made the wrong alliances and secured powerful enemies. Some bankrupted themselves trying to keep up with the senseless extravagance of the court, and had to retire at last, impoverished. Some incurred the fiery fate of the King's active displeasure. There was, for instance, the luckless soul who was so intent upon begging a suit that he neglected to admire the King's handsome new saddle. When his friends asked the King why he had not granted the man's petition, James snorted, 'Shall a King give heed to a dirty pauper, when a beggar noteth not his gilt stirrups?'

The courtier who had exhausted his means and become distasteful to the King was faced with the grim prospect of life as a 'cast-courtier' languishing in poverty on the Continent. Indeed, if he were a person of sufficient importance and his faults flagrant enough in the royal eye, he might not escape with exile either compelled or self-imposed, but find himself like Lord Grey, Raleigh, the Earl of Northumberland and poor Lady Arbella, confined to the Tower while the offices and monopolies, pensions and lands he had earlier secured were rapaciously sought by his more fortunate fellows.

When King James wanted something for one of his "male favorites," all means were lawful to him. In 1607 Carr was the king's pet. In Jacobean Pageant on page 179 we read:

Young Carr was mounting the ladder and not yet scornful of the base means by which he did ascend. Progressively the vista of honours opened before him. In the closing days of 1607 he was appointed a Gentleman of the Bedchamber and knighted. Early in 1608 he received the King's portrait mounted in gold and diamonds. In January 1609 King James taking advantage of a scribe's ommission of a phrase from a legal document, deprived Sir Walter Raleigh of his estate of Sherborne in Dorset and gave it to his young Scot. Feeling ran high against his act. Lady Raleigh went on her knees before the King and begged to be spared this much out of her husband's ruin, but James, muttering 'I maun have the land, I maun have it for Carr,' refused her. In 1610 Carr benefited from another man's ruin and received the forfeited Scottish estates of Lord Maxwell.

King James, although he didn't have a penny to put into his own Bible, had great lusts for castles, gifts for his "favorites," and extremely extravagant parties. He was always borrowing money and accumulated a great debt. This debt could be paid if he could get his son Prince Charles married off to the Spanish Infanta. Her dowry was worth between 600,000 to 1,000,000 pounds. Below is an account of what this marriage would have cost England and the Protestant cause taken from the book James I by Otto F. Scott:

The Vatican, drawn against its will but fascinated by the possibilities inherent in the situation, finally issued its demands upon England; all Catholics were to be free to their beliefs and relieved of any oaths to the English king; all children of the marriage were to be raised in the Vatican faith from the age of twelve. The demand was a virtual ultimatum that the English king dismiss the laws of his realm at the order of the Vatican. By May 1623 Olivares and Buckingham had exchanged hard words and were no longer speaking. The Prince of Wales (King James's son), however, had not been trained to argue. He said he and his father would set aside the laws of England and sign the articles. [Page 398]

The marriage negotiations eventually collapsed. Again, I do not bring out these parts of the history of King James to smear or slander him. He was a human being who will stand before the true King just like everyone else, and stand he will because our Father is able to make all stand. He was a king who was far from saintly, although he thought he was above all in intelligence, wisdom, and even in understanding of religious matters. I bring these points out because the King James Only camp spends many words smearing the publishers and translators of other Bible translations. How can they do this with so much mud on their own feet?

I am not saying all Bible translations are good. Some are better than others. I believe there are some excellent translations on the horizon and some terrible ones.

When one looks at King James and those he had around him, it should make an unbiased person realize that these KJV Only writers either have not done their own homework about their own version and the man who commissioned it, or they are very great hypocrites.

Having been in the KJV Only camp for a season, having read their literature and having searched with as a sincere heart as possible, I have come to the conclusion that the reason they throw so much dirt is because they are fighting a lost cause which cannot be won by them on the field of scholarship and truth. The pig pen is the ground they wish to argue on. Let us walk away from that mess and do as the prodigal son did, finally come to our senses. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth.

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