There is an old, snooty church joke that goes something like this: Miss Smith approaches her pastor, incensed that he has replaced the King James Bible with the New International Version. “Pastor, bring back the King James,” she says. “If it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”
Last week the joke was ignited””literally, at the Halloween book burning sponsored by Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C. The church’s Web site declared the burning to be “a great success.” Works thrown into the flames included those by supposed heretics Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and emergent church guru Brian McLaren. “It was a success because God’s Word was glorified and uplifted,” according to the Web site. Claiming scriptural warrant for the burning, the site quoted Acts: “And many that believed, came and confessed and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”
Most disturbing, Scripture itself was burned””onto the pyre flew modern translations of the Bible like those that the woman in the joke deplored. Amazing Grace is a self-proclaimed King James Only church.