Beware of Peter Ruckman
By Bro. David Cloud
Way of Life Website
Updated April 19, 2004 (first published via the Fundamental Baptist Information Service November 1994) - David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143. Send e-mail: email@example.com
This material is also available in an enlarged 50-page booklet by the same title. See the online catalog at the Way of Life web site or call 866-295-4143.
"What do you think about Peter Ruckman?”
How many times I have been asked this question! For good or for bad, Peter Ruckman’s name is intertwined with the defense of the King James Bible. Personally, I think it is bad.
On January 24, 1985, I wrote to Dr. Ruckman from my missionary work in South Asia and told him that I believed he had done more damage to the cause of the King James Bible than many of its detractors.
“...your writings--because of the spirit in which they are given--actually make me desire to flee from whatever beliefs you are propounding. I sincerely fear ... that you have done more damage to the cause of the truth of the preservation of the Textus Receptus and the faithful translations thereof than have the enemies of this position.”
I know these words make even some of my friends cringe, but I still believe this. Why? Because his strange ideas, his multiple divorces, his angry spirit, his arrogance, his Alexandrian cult mentality, his extremism regarding the KJV being advanced revelation, and his bizarre private doctrines tends to cause men to reject the entire issue.
Dr. Ruckman’s teaching has also caused many unnecessary divisions and problems in churches. It is one thing if a Christian tries to stand for the King James Bible and leaves a church that does not so stand, but it is quite another matter if a Christian becomes caught up in Ruckman’s peculiar doctrines and harsh spirit and comes to the conclusion that his church is apostate merely because it does not accept all of the jots and tittles of Ruckman’s thinking even though it is a church that does not use or defend the modern versions.
An example of this occurred in my home church. Pastor Wilbert Unger of Bethel Baptist Church in London, Ontario, stands unhesitatingly for the King James Bible, but he does not swallow Ruckman’s peculiarities. To many Ruckman followers, though, if a man does not believe about the KJV exactly what Ruckman believes and does not accept the KJV as “advanced revelation” that can correct even the Greek and Hebrew from which it was translated and as the apex of Bible infallibility, he is “not a true Bible believer.” To believe that the KJV is an accurate translation of the preserved Word of God is not enough. A few years ago the printer for Bethel Baptist Church began reading some of Ruckman’s books and came to this conclusion. He felt that his church was not a true Bible-believing church and he began talking to some of the members, promoting Ruckman’s views, stirring up trouble. He finally left the church because of this and left a serious gap in the printing ministry which the Lord had led the church to start.
This type of thing has happened many times over, oftentimes even resulting in church splits.
Let me also say that all men who appreciate Peter Ruckman are not quarrelsome church splitters. I know several gracious Christian gentlemen who appreciate Dr. Ruckman. They appreciate the fact that the man stands boldly for an infallible Bible in a confused, wicked hour. They appreciate the fact that he has stirred up the pot and caused many to look at the Bible version issue. They are willing to overlook his problems.
While I have no personal quarrel with any man who takes such a position, the bottom line for me is this: I don’t believe an extreme position on an issue is a blessing to that issue, and I don’t believe a mean-spirited defense of the truth furthers the truth.
For the record, I want to list the Ruckmanisms that I reject and the reasons why I believe that the man is dangerous.
I REJECT DR. RUCKMAN’S IDEA THAT THE KJV WAS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION; I BELIEVE IT WAS GIVEN BY PRESERVATION
In The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship, pp. 271-272, Ruckman claims: “The King James Bible was ‘given by inspiration of God.’”
I believe the King James Bible, as an accurate translation of the preserved Word of God, IS therefore the inspired Word of God. I can hold it up and say “this is the inspired Word of God.” I can say that about any accurate translation of the Scriptures from the right Hebrew and Greek texts into any language.
But I don’t believe the King James Bible was GIVEN BY inspiration of God. I don’t believe the KJV is GIVEN BY inspiration in the way that the original writings of Scripture were. I believe it has DERIVED its inspiration from the text upon which it was based. The King James Bible is an accurate and beautiful translation of the preserved Scriptures and as such is the inspired Word of God--inspired only derivatively, not directly.
I don’t believe this is merely a semantics game; it is an important distinction. The King James Bible is an accurate translation of the preserved Word of God and as such is the preserved Word of God. It is no more than that, and it is no less than that. The King James Version is the inspired Word of God because it accurately translates the text that was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
God chose Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, and I’m not going to say that God made a mistake and that we had to wait until the 17th century before we could have the penultimate Word of God and that English has now superceded everything that came before. The KJV is a wonderful translation, but IT IS a translation. Some would charge that to say such a thing detracts from the KJV. No, the truth never detracts from anything. We want to honor first that which God has honored, and that is the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. We honor translations but only in a secondary sense.
To make myself perfectly clear, let me also say that I believe the KJV is superior to all other English versions--superior in its textual basis, superior in its method of translation, superior in the scholarship of its translators, superior in the time of its translation. BUT THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS SAYING THE KING JAMES BIBLE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OR THAT IT IS SOME SORT OF ADVANCED REVELATION.
The key New Testament passage on the inspiration of Scripture is 2 Timothy 3:15-17. Verse 16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God...” This refers to the original giving of the Word of God. Inspiration does not refer to the process of transcribing or translating the Bible, but to the process whereby God gave the right words to the men who wrote the Bible.
This process of inspiration is also described in 2 Peter 1:20-21: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This passage does not describe either the copying of Scripture texts or the making of translations.
It is the doctrine of preservation, then, that guarantees that the God would watch over the inspired Scriptures to preserve them for future generations (Psalm 12:6-7;
Psalm 100:5; Matthew 5:18, etc.). This is the process whereby God preserved the Hebrew and Greek texts and watched over translations such as the German Luther and the English King James Bible.
I REJECT DR. RUCKMAN’S IDEA THAT THE KJV IS ADVANCED REVELATION
The KJV translators had good reason for every reading they included in their translation, and some of those readings are based more on ancient versions than on Greek texts. There are three major witnesses which sound textual scholars and translators use to determine the correct text, and those are the Greek manuscripts, the ancient versions, and the ancient lectionaries. The translators of the King James Bible looked at all three of these witnesses.
This, of course, does not add up to advanced revelation. I believe the KJV translators were God-guided, but the KJV readings were not pulled out of thin air. The readings were not “given by inspiration” of God. The readings were all based upon existing textual witnesses from centuries past.
Peter Ruckman, on the other hand, SAYS he believes the KJV is advanced revelation. Consider:
“The A.V. 1611 reading, here, is superior to any Greek text” (Peter Ruckman, The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Pensacola Bible Press, 1970, p. 118).
“Mistakes in the A.V. 1611 are advanced revelation!” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 126).
“A short handbook, such as this, will not permit an exhaustive account of the marvelous undesigned ‘coincidences’ which have slipped through the A.V. 1611 committees, unawares to them, and which give advanced light, and advanced revelation beyond the investigation of the greatest Bible students 300 year later” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 127).
“A little English will clear up the obscurities in any Greek text” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 147).
“If all you have is the ‘original Greek,’ you lose light” (Ruckman, Manuscript Evidence, p. 336).
“If you are able to obtain a copy [of Ruckman’s proposed new book] you will have, in your hands, a minimum of 200 advanced revelations that came from the inerrant English text, that were completely overlooked (or ignored) by every major Christian scholar since 90 A.D.” (Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Jan. 1994, pp. 2,4).
“We shall deal with the English Text of the Protestant Reformation, and our references to Greek or Hebrew will only be made to enforce the authority of that text or to demonstrate the superiority of that text to Greek and Hebrew.” (Peter Ruckman, Problem Texts, Preface, Pensacola Bible Institute Press, 1980, p. vii).
“We candidly and publicly confess that the King James text of the Old Testament (Authorized Version) is far superior to Kittel’s Hebrew text, Derossi’s Hebrew text, Kennicott’s Hebrew text or any Hebrew text that any of you are reading. We do not hesitate to state bluntly and openly that the King James text for the New Testament (Authorized Version) is superior to Erasmus’ Greek text, Aland’s Greek text, Metzger’s Greek text and any other that you are reading (or will read in the future)” (Ruckman, Problem Texts, page xii). [Brother Cloud: You see that Ruckman treats the Greek Received Text with the same lightness as he does the modern critical text.]
“If you had the original manuscripts, you couldn’t find what a soul was, no matter how educated you were, because the key for ‘finding out’ had nothing to do with the Hebrew or Greek” (Ruckman, Problem Texts, p. 145).
“Observe how accurately and beautifully the infallible English text straightens out Erasmus, Griesbach, Beza, Nestle, Aland, Metzger, Trench, Vincent, Davis, Wuest, Zodhiates, Elzevir, and Stephanus with the poise and grace of a swan as it smoothly and effectively breaks your arm with one flap of its wings. Beautiful, isn’t it? If the mood or tense isn’t right in any Greek text, the King James Bible will straighten it out in a hurry” (Ruckman, Problem Texts, pp. 348, 349). [Editor: Why does Ruckman put critical, modernistic textual editors Nestle, Aland, and Metzger on the same level with Beza, Elzevir, and Stephanus who honored the Word of God and handed down to us the Text Received from the Apostles?]
“The original Hebrew had nothing to do with Genesis 1:1-3 at all [referring to Ruckman’s unique idea that the flood of 2 Peter 3:5-6 speaks of a flood that took place in Genesis 1:2]. It only muddied the issue. Hebrew is of no help at all in understanding the passage” (Peter Ruckman, The Unknown Bible, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1984, p. 67).
“The King James test is the last and final statement that God has given to the world, and He has given it in the universal language of the 20th century ... The truth is that GOD SLAMMED THE DOOR OF REVELATION SHUT IN 389 BC AND SLAMMED IT SHUT AGAIN IN 1611” (Peter Ruckman, The Monarch of Books, Pensacola, 1973, p. 9). [Brother Cloud: In fact, God slammed the door of revelation shut in about 90 A.D. with the completion of the New Testament.]
While I believe the Authorized Version is an accurate translation of the preserved Word of God, I reject Ruckman’s contention that the Authorized Version is superior to the Hebrew and Greek from which it was translated, or that God only slammed shut the door of revelation in 1611, or that the English straightens out the Greek, or that the Authorized Version contains advanced revelation.
If Ruckman is right, where was the inspired Word of God prior to 1611? What did the churches do from the time of the apostles until the 17th century? And what did they do before Ruckman came upon the scene to create this doctrine, because it is certain that no one taught it at an earlier date?
I know the man enjoys speaking for effect, saying things simply to shake people up, but words mean something. If a man puts something into print repeatedly, year after year, and sends those books out across the land, we are not wrong to take him seriously and to base our judgment of his ministry upon those books.
To put the critical Greek texts on the same level with the Received Text and to discount every Hebrew and Greek text, as Ruckman does when arguing for the superiority of the Authorized Version, is wrong.
God chose to inspire His Book in the Hebrew and Greek languages, and I am satisfied that He knew what He was doing. I’m not going to say that the English language has become a better vehicle for God’s Revelation. English is an excellent vehicle but not a better vehicle. Do you see the difference, my friend? I believe it is an important one.
Let me hasten to say that I DO believe God had his hand upon the translation of the KJV in a marvelous way. I DO NOT believe there are any real mistakes in the King James Bible. (By this I mean that the alleged mistakes are not real.) The King James Bible has played a crucial role in the preservation of the Word of God in the last four centuries because of the importance of the English language. God gave the English-speaking people an accurate translation. I do believe there are places which could be translated more clearly. I do believe there are antiquated words which could be brought up to date. (To say, though, there are changes which could be made in the KJV is entirely different from saying there are changes which must be made, or that it contains mistakes. To say that there are passages which could be translated differently is not the same as saying there are passages which contain error.)
The point here, though, pertains to whether or not the KJV is advanced revelation. Revelation means a revealing of something that was not previously known by man and can only be discovered by the divine hand. The KJV IS NOT ADVANCED REVELATION.
I REJECT DR. RUCKMAN’S IDEA THAT THOSE WHO DIFFER WITH HIM ABOUT THE KJV ARE MEMBERS OF A CULT
Consider what Ruckman believes:
“...every ‘recognized’ church historian and Christian ‘scholar’ is a member of a CULT. This cult is the Alexandrian Cult of North Africa, and its tentacles stretch from Origen (184-254 A.D.) to John R. Rice and the faculty members of every ‘recognized’ Christian school in the world” (Peter Ruckman, The Alexandrian Cult, Part One, 1978, p. 6).
I believe Evangelist John R. Rice was wrong about the Bible version issue, but I do not believe he was a cultist. I believe that my teachers at Tennessee Temple were wrong not to instruct me properly in regard to Bible texts and versions, but I don’t believe they are cultists. I’m not going to put them in the same lot with the pope, as Dr. Ruckman does.
Second Thessalonians 3:14-15 says that while we are not to overlook a brother’s sin or error, and while we are to separate from him if he persists in it, we are NOT to count him as an enemy, but to admonish him as a brother. Mr. Ruckman counts everyone as an enemy who does not adhere to the jots and tittles of Ruckmanism.
Ruckman lumps together and lambastes with equal harshness the fundamental Baptist who supports the modern versions with the fundamental Baptist who rejects the modern versions--so long as both reject Ruckmanism. In the February 1989 issue of the Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Ruckman says:
“The polemics in the publications by Donald Waite and Robert Sumner are dedicated to that proposition, and pretense that they are protecting you from heresy is just so much hot air in a wind bag” (p. 6).
“No apostate Fundamentalist (Duncan, Hudson, Afman, Martin, Price, Newman, MacRae, Waite, Sumner, Kutilek, etc.) ever believed what the scriptures said about the scriptures. ... Doug Kutilek, Robert Sumner, Ronald Walker, Donald Waite, Gary Hudson, Fred Afman, etc. ... They go right on with their nonsense” (p. 4).
Most of these men are avid defenders of the modern critical Greek text. Note, though, that Ruckman lumps Dr. Donald Waite into this group as if there were no difference in his position on the Bible and that of the others. Waite is a staunch defender of the King James Bible. His book Defending the King James Bible presents “the four-fold superiority of the KJV”: Superior texts, superior translators, superior technique, and superior theology. Dr. Waite is so strong in his defense of the King James Bible that he has often been mis-labeled a Ruckmanite!
Why, then, does Mr. Ruckman consider all of these men equally to be members of “the Alexandrian cult”?
Ruckman does not consider Dr. Waite a true Bible believer for the simple fact that Dr. Waite rejects Ruckmanism.
I REJECT DR. RUCKMAN’S DEFENSE OF DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE FOR PASTORS
Dr. Peter Ruckman has been divorced two times and married three times yet he has been a pastor all along and he defends his unscriptural marital status in his book on divorce and remarriage.
His first marriage was before his salvation, and it ended in 1962 when his wife left him and filed for divorce. He began pastoring the Brent Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, soon after that.
In 1972 Ruckman married the divorced wife of one of his former students. When a vote was taken in Brent Baptist as to whether they supported his second marriage, 200 voted for it and 100 opposed it.
He resigned and started the Bible Baptist Church in Pensacola in 1974 with 17 people.
In 1988 the second marriage ended when his second wife walked out and sued for divorce.
Ruckman’s third marriage was to a member of his church, a mother of three.
I have read Dr. Ruckman’s autobiography in which he goes into this situation in some detail. My heart went out to him as I read about the tremendous confusion which existed in his family life for 32 years. He admits his role in the marital strife. Of course he didn’t have to take the second marriage, or the third. He claims the first and second marriages were God’s foreordained judgment on him (Ruckman calls God “the Bookkeeper” throughout his testimony).
I don’t care to doubt that God called Peter Ruckman to preach, and I believe a divorced man can preach and serve God in many ways without being a pastor. But he should not be, and is not qualified to be, a pastor. That’s not Phariseeism; that is King James Bible. Paul’s epistle to Titus connects the term “blameless” with the pastor’s family life (Titus 1:6), because the pastorate is a very special position. The pastor is he highest position in the house of God, which is the church. I don’t believe there is a higher calling in the world today. Not only is the pastor to be a teacher and a preacher and a soul winner; he is to be an example of the will of God. “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). If the pastor’s family is not right, whose will be? If the pastor’s family is not right, where will the church be?
The pastor must meet qualifications which are not required for any other Christian. It’s a special position.
The Bible says that a pastor must be “one that ruleth well his own house”
(1 Timothy 3:4,5). Regardless of whose fault the divorce is, there can be no question that it does NOT represent an exemplary family life. Regardless of whose fault the divorce is, there can be no doubt that the man involved is NOT ruling well his own house. Regardless of whose fault the divorce is, there can be no doubt that it is a handle the devil will use to cast blame upon the church and the work of God.
Divorces do not take place in a vacuum. They take place in an environment filled with anger, carnality, hostility, bitterness, and sin. That is not judgmentalism; it is fact. Some of my godly divorced friends confess this as strongly as I do.
Consider how Dr. Ruckman himself describes his family life in days gone by:
“I have had two wives desert me after fifteen years of marriage ... I have been in court custody cases, where seven children’s futures were held in the balance; in situations where Gospel articles were being torn out of typewriters, Biblical artwork torn off the easels, women trying to throw themselves out of cars at fifty m.p.h., mailing wedding rings back in the middle of revival services, cutting their wrists, threatening to leave if I did not give my church to their kinfolk; deacons threatening to burn down my house and beat me up; children in split custody between two domiciles two hundred miles apart, and knock-down, drag-out arguments in the home sometimes running as long as three days” (The Last Grenade, p. 339).
That is what the man admits took place. That is only a small glimpse into the sin and confusion surrounding those years. Friends, you can label me a judge if you want, but a man with that type of family life has no business in the pastorate. Let him preach on the streets. Let him preach in the jails. Let him preach in the nursing homes. Let him preach in other ways, but we must obey the Bible and reserve the pastorate for men who have godly homes.
Did I hear someone say that nobody is perfect? That is correct, but there are many men who, by God’s grace, have godly homes.
If God were not going to take the standards of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 seriously, why did He give them? And if God is going to take them seriously, who are we to slight them?
Dr. Ruckman often mocks those who call for high standards for the pastorate and who don’t believe a divorced man fits God’s requirements for the office. Those who take this position he calls hypocrites and Pharisees.
Consider how he describes his third marriage:
“... we got married in a regular Sunday night service after the offering was taken up: bridesmaids, wedding cake, rice, shaving cream on the car, the whole works. Standing room only. I WAS FLAUNTING MY FAITH IN THE FACE OF THE APOSTATE FUNDAMENTALISTS WHO WERE GOING TO ‘CASH IN’ ON MY MARRIAGE” (Peter Ruckman, The Full Cup, p. 280).
On page 211 of his biography, Dr. Ruckman says that those who ask the question, “Do you think a divorced preacher is qualified for the ministry,” are “SELF-RIGHTEOUS PHARISEES.”
This mocking, ungodly attitude has encouraged other men that it’s O.K. to be divorced and remain in the pastorate and even to flaunt the same before anyone who disagrees. Yes, sadly, many have followed Ruckman’s lead.
I REJECT DR. RUCKMAN’S IDEA THAT MEN ARE SAVED IN DIFFERENT WAYS IN DIFFERENT AGES
Dr. Ruckman believes men were saved by blood plus works in the Old Testament, that they will be saved by faith plus works in the Tribulation, and by works alone in the Millennium.
In his booklet Millions Disappear: Fact or Fiction? Ruckman says: “If the Lord comes and you remain behind, then start working like a madman to get to heaven, because you’re going to have to. ... You must keep the Ten Commandments (all of them, Ecclesiastes 12:13), keep the Golden Rule (1 John 3:10), give your money to the poor, get baptized, take up your cross, hold out to the end of the Tribulation, wait for Jesus Christ to show up at the Battle of Armageddon, and be prepared to die for what you believe. In the Tribulation you cannot be saved by grace alone, like you could before the Rapture.”
My friends, Romans 4 says both Abraham before the law, and David after the law, were saved by faith without works. This is the only plan of salvation God ever has had and ever will have--salvation by grace alone through faith alone based upon the shed blood of Jesus Christ alone. The Old Testament saints did not know what the New Testament saint knows, but Romans 4 makes it plain that the Old Testament saints were saved by faith without works. Like Abraham, they believed God and it was counted to them for righteousness.
Those who are saved in the Tribulation will be saved through the blood of Jesus Christ and through His blood alone. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).
See the articles “Salvation Is the Same in the Old Testament and the New Testament” by Bruce Lackey and “Salvation in the O.T. and the N.T. Follow-up.” These are available at the Way of Life Literature web site -- “Salvation Is the Same in the Old Testament and the New Testament” by Bruce Lackey and “Salvation in the O.T. and the N.T. Follow-up.”. They are also available in the booklet What About Ruckman? which can be obtained from Way of Life Literature.
I REJECT DR. RUCKMAN’S STRANGE, FLESHLY NAME CALLING
Some of the choice names Ruckman calls men who disagree with him are “jackass,” “poor, dumb, stupid ‘red legs,’” “silly asses,” “apostolic succession of bloated egotists,” “two-bit junkies,” “two-faced, tin-horned punks,” “incredible idiots,” “egotistical jack legs,” “conservative asses whose brains have gone to seed,” “cheap, two-bit punks,” and “stupid, little, Bible-rejecting apostates.”
Dr. Ruckman can get pretty vulgar. He calls the New American Standard Version “more of the same old godless, depraved crap” (Satan’s Masterpiece--the New ASV, p. 67). In The Unknown Bible, p. 100, Ruckman says, “You see how people get all screwed up?”
Ruckman believes it is God who has called him to speak like this:
“God called me to sit at this typewriter and pour forth VINEGAR, ACID, VITRIOL, AND CLEANING FLUID on the leading conservative and fundamental scholars of 1900 through 1990. ... God is in charge. He ... destines me to sit at this typewriter and LAMBAST, SCALD AND RIDICULE these Bible rejecting fundamentalists who ‘believe the Bible is the Word of God,’ ... I hereby dedicate myself anew to the task of DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM AND NEGATIVE BLASTING against every adversary of that Holy Book...” (The Bible Believers Bulletin, Dec. 1985).
Ruckman is fighting for a holy Book in an unholy manner. It is confusion.
I know what Jesus called the Pharisees in Matthew 23. I have read how Paul, filled with the Spirit, spoke severely of the false teacher in Acts 13:9-10. I know the severe plainness with which the Spirit of God speaks of false teachers in passages such as
2 Peter 2 and Jude.
But there is a world of difference between the language used in the Bible and the language used by Peter Ruckman. There is a world of difference between the spirit of a Peter and a Paul or a Jude and the spirit of Peter Ruckman.
There is also a distinct difference between the way the Spirit of God deals with a saved but erring man and an unregenerate corrupter of the gospel. There is a vast difference between the way the Lord Jesus Christ dealt with His own disciples and the way He dealt with the Pharisees. The same distinction is evident in the way that Paul dealt with Peter’s hypocrisy in Galatians 2, and the way he dealt with the unsaved false teacher in Acts 13.
Yet Mr. Ruckman makes no difference between the Pope, a theological Christ-denying Modernist, or an erring fundamental Baptist brother in Christ. He will a man such as Curtis Hutson together with John Paul II and Karl Barth.
Ruckman’s spirit and language is not that of the Bible. James 3:13-17 says:
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works WITH MEEKNESS OF WISDOM. But if ye have BITTER ENVYING AND STRIFE in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first PURE, then PEACEABLE, GENTLE, AND EASY TO BE INTREATED, FULL OF MERCY AND GOOD FRUITS, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
My friends, this passage from the King James Bible condemns Ruckmanism. This passage from the King James Bible tells me that Ruckman’s spirit is earthly, sensual, and devilish. Enjoying Ruckman because he “gets after those Bible perverters” is the same carnal spirit as enjoying a good dog fight when the dog you have betted on is the biggest, meanest one around. “Sic ‘em, Pete, sic ‘em!” It is entertaining, and it is immensely satisfying to the flesh, but God says bitter envying and strife is earthly, sensual, devilish. God says heavenly wisdom is peaceable, gentle and full of mercy.
Some will protest, “But Ruckman is only striving with and showing bitterness toward the enemies of the Bible.”
The Holy Spirit gave instructions in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 on how to deal with those who oppose the truth. He said nothing about pouring vitriol and acid on them!
“And the servant of the Lord MUST NOT STRIVE: BUT BE GENTLE UNTO ALL MEN, apt to teach, PATIENT, IN MEEKNESS instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
When I wrote to Ruckman in 1985 and told him these things, he wrote back and said that I don’t understand the battle. Dr. Ruckman claims that those who reject his attitude and language are pacifists who don’t know the heat of the battle.
That is a smokescreen. By the time that Ruckman charged me with not understanding “the battle,” I had lived for six years and preached the gospel and planted a church in a land which was strictly and officially opposed to the gospel. We lived constantly with the fear that we could be arrested. Not only was Nepal one of the strangest, poorest, and most difficult lands to live in, but it was a Hindu state and Christianity was outlawed. Further, I was standing practically alone in that entire part of the world for the preserved Bible and for fundamentalist Baptist doctrine. My literature made me more visible than otherwise would have been the case. Our magazines and books went out across most of South Asia. I was slandered; labeled a cult leader; lied about; mocked. I was brought to trial by a group of Christian leaders in Nepal (including the head of Campus Crusade for Christ in Nepal, the pastor of the Assemblies of God in Kathmandu, the head of Youth for Christ in Nepal, and the head of the Bible Society of Nepal) and was told to leave because I was said to be “the greatest hindrance to the cause of Christ in Nepal.” They said I was dividing “the body of Christ in Nepal.” The Bible Society man claimed that I was resisting God because I had taken a stand against the Nepali equivalent of the Today’s English Version (Good News for Modern Man). The Roman Catholic Jesuit priests had meetings about me and took steps to hinder my ministry.
The battle was hot then and it is hot today and I know something about it, but the Lord’s battles must be fought with the Lord’s weapons, not with fleshly ones.
I REJECT DR. RUCKMAN’S PECULIAR DOCTRINES AND CULTIC ATTITUDE
In The Unknown Bible, Ruckman claims to hold to 14 “biblical truths” which other Bible teachers have overlooked for 2,000 years. I am reminded of the truism that “if it is new it is not true, and if it is true it is not new.”
These long-overlooked “biblical truths” include the following:
1. Angels are thirty-three year old males without wings; and all woman in the Church Age will receive thirty-three year old male bodies at the Rapture. ...
2. The plan of salvation for Tribulation saints is faith plus works and the plan of salvation in the Millennium is works alone.
3. When the believer is born again, his soul is literally cut loose from the inside of his fleshly body. (Ruckman takes spiritual circumcision very literally!)
4. Demons re winged creatures ranging in size from those of flies and mosquitoes to eagles and vultures.
5. Sexual unions constitute marriage in God’s sight.
On page 347 of The Unknown Bible, Ruckman modestly claims: “Do you realize that in these last two chapters, you have learned a dozen things that were unknown to the greatest Bible teachers in the world? In 2000 years of church history, they haven’t even been able to find the passage which dealt with these things we have been talking about.”
Dr. Ruckman also claims that his view of man’s soul is brand new truth:
“The problem is the word ‘soul,’ but since there isn’t one pre-millennial, soul-winning, fundamentalist who knows what a soul is (see the entire library of books published by Eerdmans, Baker, Zondervan, and the Sword of the Lord before 1970) ... The soul in the Bible is an invisible BODILY SHAPE. In the Old Testament, the soul is almost synonymous with the body, for it is STUCK TO IT till death” (Ruckman, Problem Texts, p. 145).
Ruckman believes that the flood mentioned in 2 Peter 3 is not Noah’s flood but is one which supposedly occurred at the judgment of the earth, when Satan was cast out of Heaven. He admits that no other Bible teacher has held this view:
“Now who could get a message so simple all muddled up? Answer: Every major fundamental Bible scholar and teacher in the United States, without one exception. If you were to ask Henry Morris what the verses refer to he’d say Noah’s flood: ditto Harry Rimmer, Clarence Larkin, J. Vernon McGee, Swindle (sic), MacArthur, Bob Jones III ... the Scofield Board of Editors” (Ruckman, The Unknown Bible, p. 67).
In bragging up his new book The Salient Verses, Mr. Ruckman makes these comments:
“If you are able to obtain a copy [of Ruckman’s proposed new book] you will have, in your hands, a minimum of 200 advanced revelations that came from the inerrant English text, that were completely overlooked (or ignored) by every major Christian scholar since 90 A.D. This would include all of the modern Bible revisors (1800-1999), all of the faculty members and staffs of every major “Fundamental” (Conservative and Evangelical) seminary, university, and college in Europe and America since 1500, and every Greek and Hebrew scholar (or teacher) since 1611. ... Actually, if a Bible believer has this work he will have the accumulated knowledge of Cornelius Stam and Ethelbert Bullinger ... Clarence Larkin and C.I. Scofield Ewing, Osborne, Tilton, and PTL ... Pember, Peters, Gaebelein, Pentecost, Lindsey, Kirban, Rockwood, Webber, and Van Impe ... plus the Puritans, Reformers, major evangelists (Moody, Sunday, Finney, Torrey, Wesley, etc.) and all that ANY Greek and Hebrew scholar ... ever found out--that was SO--in the last 200 years” (Bible Believers’ Bulletin, Jan. 1994, pp. 2,4).
This is a proud, cultish mindset.
Consider a few of the other peculiar teachings held by Dr. Ruckman:
“God has ordained on this earth 12 boundaries, with 12 nations, who are destined to leave this earth (transported by angels-- Luke 16:22), and populate outer space infinitely and forever, beginning with the 12 constellations that are seen on the earth once every 12 months” (The Unknown Bible, p. 588).
“In eternity, THE CHRISTIAN IS IN NEW JERUSALEM; he is in his apartment house that is made out of transparent gold, like clear glass. ... He is called out on trips, and these trips take him to Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Uranus, etc. transporting couples into gardens placing them down and saying, ‘be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth’“ (Ibid., p. 592).
“I KNOW THEY [DEMONS] HAVE TO BE SMALL. ... there’s two little animals that have wings. One’s a fly and the other’s a mosquito. Know what these things are? They’re pictures of demons. all commentaries, and all theologians, they’re winged. THE THINGS HAVE WINGS” (Ruckman, Demons and Christians, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1976, side 1).
Some Ruckmanites have challenged me to refute the Ruckman doctrines we have cited. I don’t have to refute them; they are self refuting for the simple fact that they have no biblical authority, just as Rome’s dogmas of purgatory and the papacy are self refuting. Why should we have to refute nonsense? The Bible instructs us to avoid the foolish and unlearned questions of heretics (2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9-11), and Ruckman’s new doctrines certainly fall into this category.
I really don’t understand why men believe it is so necessary to read after Dr. Ruckman to understand the Bible version issue. There are a multiplicity of good materials available on Bible versions by men such as Donald Waite, David Otis Fuller, Edward F. Hills, Bruce Lackey, Terence Brown, and Jack Moorman. I came to a Bible-believing position through the writings of such men without any help from Dr. Ruckman, and I recommend their writings to our readers. Their writings are not filled with bitter wrangling, hateful sarcasm, and fanaticism. The fruit of reading after such men is peace and settled confidence and zeal for the Truth, not a fleshly bitterness against the members of a supposed cult.
In conclusion, let me say that while I have some serious problems with Dr. Ruckman, I also have some serious problems with many of his detractors. Many of Peter Ruckman’s most bitter enemies are trying to discredit the idea that there is a authoritative Bible anywhere in the world. They have their own rotten agenda, undermining men’s faith in a preserved Bible and attempting to pollute their minds with the unscriptural, convoluted theories of modern textual criticism.
“Who, then, can we trust?” some might be thinking? The Word of God says, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm ... Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jeremiah 17:5,7).
Man is defiled even at his best. Our confidence must be in Jesus Christ and in His eternal Word, and let no man shake your confidence in That.
For follow-up articles on Peter Ruckman see:
"Divorce and Remarriage and God's Standards for the Pastor," O Timothy, Volume 12, Issue 5, 1995
"The Divorced Pastor," O Timothy, Volume 10, Issue 10, 1993
"Ruckman's Perfect Bible," O Timothy, Volume 12, Issue 4, 1995
"Ruckman's Slanderous Mouth," O Timothy, Volume 12, Issue 4, 1995 "Peter Ruckman's Speech" by D.W. Cloud
"Response to the Ruckman Critique," O Timothy, Volume 12, Issue 1, 1995
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