THE RUCKMANITE POSITION ON THE KJV IS DANGEROUS
Ruckmanism is a little-known system of teaching that has been formulated
by Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, head of the Pensacola Bible Institute in Pensacola,
Florida. This teaching is basically Baptistic and dispensational, but with
some radical twists that set it apart as an unorthodox position.
Born in Wilmington, Delaware and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Mr. Ruckman
received his B.A. degree from the University of Alabama in 1944. His early
religious connections were with the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches, the
latter which he prepared to join in 1949.That year marked his conversion to
Christ and he pursued Christian training at Bob Jones University. After
completion of his studies there he accepted a pastorate of a Baptist Church in
Pensacola. In 1959, he was divorced from his wife and subsequently married the
wife of one of his students, a matter that has brought personal criticism from
some Christian leaders.
While Ruckman holds to many doctrines foreign to apostolic teachings, his
unique position on the King James Version should sufficiently label him as
a false teacher and make mute any other point of error. Most of the controversy dealing
with the question of Bible translations has centered around the issue of the Greek text
used as the basis of the work. Fundamentalism has held firmly to the Byzantine (aka Apostolic) family of texts
while the modernists of higher and lower criticism have held to the Alexandrian (aka Catholic) family of texts
as further perverted by Westcott and Hort. The work of Erasmus in the compiling of the Textus Recptus from
which the King James Version was translated dealt solely with this Apostolic family of texts and therefore
the King James Bible is the only reliable text by the reasoning of Fundamentalism.
Ruckman agrees with the exclusive use of the King James Bible, but goes even further.
He regards the translators of the Authorized Version as
having been "inspired" by the Holy Spirit in their translating work, therefore
making their translation more accurate than any Greek text of the New Testament now in
The elevation of the King James Version alone to the level of "inspired"
and therefore "inerrant Word of God" is a serious error, for it goes beyond
what the facts themselves warrant and leads Ruckman to conclusions that
ultimately damage the authority of God's original words written by his
inspired Apostles. In the first place it means that Ruckman is forced to
defend questionable translations made by the King James
translators. One such translation is the use of the term Easter
in Acts 12:4. In his COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF ACTS, he acknowledges that the
words "after Easter" in the A.V. are used to translate the Greek words "after
the Passover." Since Easter is a term adopted several centuries ago by
Christianity to refer to the time of Christ resurrection, it is not strictly
accurate to designate the Passover as Easter. What especially bothers some
Christians about the use of the term "Easter" for "Passover" is the fact that
Easter was derived from the name of a pagan goddess "Eastre" whose festival
was celebrated at the time of the vernal equinox - the same basic season as
the Passover and the celebration of the resurrection. The use of the word Easter in the KJV has
no doubt caused some confusion of the pagan celebration and the celebration of the resurrection of Christ and some debate
has been offered that the word should be changed in the KJV. However,
Ruckman's position will not allow him to alter one single word in the
Authorized Version. He therefore defends the King James use of "Easter" by
insisting that the Holy Spirit personally directed and inspired the
translators to use this term. He writes: "AFTER EASTER (vs.4). The Holy Spirit
has thrust Himself into the A.V. committee of 1611 and said 'WRITE' ..." (pp
Ruckman goes even further, however, and defends the A.V.'s errors as
additional revelation. In his book, THE CHRISTIAN'S HANDBOOK OF MANUSCRIPTS
EVIDENCE (1970) he has a chapter entitled, "Correcting the Greek with the
English". In it he actually defends the K.J.V. translation of "churches" in
Acts 19:37 when every known Greek manuscript has the word "temples". He
justifies this rendering with the startling assertion that "Mistakes in the
A.V. 1611 are advanced revelation" (p 126). This makes the A.V. better than
the original Greek upon which it is based. In his book PROBLEM TEXTS, he
asserts that 'the K.J.V. English rendering is so perfect that Acts 2:38
was left in by God to mislead people.'
The major difficulty with such a position is that such a claim of
infallibility could be made about any translation. Once a translation is
viewed as superior to the text it translates, any mistakes in translation can
be written off as further light revealed by God. On this basis no translation
could ever be shown to be incorrect. Furthermore, the only evidence one would
have that the translation was given directly by God would be the word of the
one making such a claim. In that case the word of the religious leader making
this assertion would become more authoritative that the Biblical text itself,
since one would have his word that the translation was infallible. This is
exactly what has happened in Ruckmanism, and Ruckman's followers cling to his
every word with all the devotion of cultist to their cult leaders.
Ruckman also maintains that the Septuagint translation which
rendered the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek about 200 B.C. was not really
produced until long after Christ had come. Such a position makes it difficult
to account for how the Greek New Testament could quote from it when it had not
as yet been produced. Ruckman has authored 11 books and a commentary series.
These and his tapes are full of historical and Biblical errors, yet his
followers relish every word he puts forth.
Ruckman resorts to vicious badgering and name calling for those who do not
submit to his authority. In the book PROBLEM TEXTS he uses curse words and
vile language to castigate all the major Bible schools and seminaries in
America. All who do not agree with him are the "Alexandrian Cults,"
"Heretics," "Apostates," ect. In one of his books, he describes himself
creeping into a church basement with blackened face, grenades in hand to blow
apart the apostates. He is at times fanatical, rabid and incoherent.
His "us against the (Christian) world" mentality
produces fear and paranoia. When Ruckmanism gets a foothold in a church, one
can be sure it will nearly always tear the church apart. It must accordingly
be regarded as a serious error and a growing cult that has just enough truth
to deceive, as it were, the very elect.