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Peter Sturges Ruckman (born November 19, 1921), is an Independent Baptist pastor, teacher, writer, and founder of Pensacola Bible Institute, an unaccredited school in Pensacola, Florida (not to be confused with Pensacola Christian Collegemarker). Ruckman is best known for his assertion that the King James Version constitutes "advanced revelation" and is the final, preserved word of God for English speakers.

Biography

A native of Wilmington, Delawaremarker, Peter Ruckman is a son of Colonel John Hamilton Ruckman (1888-1966) and a grandson of General John Wilson Ruckman (1858-1921). Ruckman was reared in Topeka, Kansasmarker, attended Kansas State Universitymarker, and received a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabamamarker. Ruckman married Janie Bess May of Sawyerville, Alabama, and they had five children together.

Ruckman entered the U.S. Army in 1944 and became second lieutenant, although he never saw action. At the end of World War II, he volunteered to serve with the occupation forces in Japan and while there studied Zen Buddhism. Ruckman claimed to have had paranormal experiences during this period, including (in his words) "the experience of nirvana, which the Zen call samadhi, the dislocation of the spirit from the body....Looking at my moral life following that experience, and my desire at times to commit suicide, I realize I had produced a passive state that was an entrance for spirits." Ruckman returned to the United States "uneasy, unsettled, full of demons." Drinking heavily, he became a disc jockey during the day and a drummer in various dance bands at night. Sometimes verging on suicide, he began to hear voices, and he met with a Jesuit priest to explore the possibility of joining the Roman Catholic Church. On March 14, 1949, he experienced a conversion after talking with evangelist Hugh Pyle in the studios of WEAR radio in Pensacola. Ruckman then attended Bob Jones Universitymarker (BJU), where he received a master's degree and Ph.D. in religion. In 1959, after several separations, Ruckman's first marriage was dissolved. Ruckman has since been divorced again and married a third time.

Ruckman is the pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Pensacola, and his writings and recorded sermons are published by his Bible Baptist Bookstore. Like his father, Peter Ruckman early demonstrated artistic talent, and he often illustrated his sermons in chalk and pastels while preaching.

Proponent of King James Version supremacy

Ruckman insists that the King James Version of the Bible, the "Authorized Version" ("KJV" or "A.V."), provides "advanced revelation" beyond that discernible in the underlying Textus Receptus Greek text. Arguing that the KJV is more authoritative for English speakers than the Greek and Hebrew texts, he believes the KJV represents the final authority for modern disputes about the content and meaning of the original manuscripts. For instance, in his Christian's Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Ruckman says, "Mistakes in the A.V. 1611 are advanced revelation!" Likewise, he advises where "the perverse Greek reads one way and the A.V. reads the other, rest assured that God will judge you at the Judgment on what you know. Since you don't know the Greek (and those who knew it, altered it to suit themselves), you better go by the A.V. 1611 text."

Ruckman distinguishes between the Textus Receptus of the KJV, and the numerically fewer manuscripts of the Alexandrian text-type underlying most modern New Testament versions. Ruckman characterizes those who endorse the latter as members of the "Alexandrian Cult" who believe that while the autographs were God-inspired, they have been lost, and that therefore his opponents believe there to be "no final, absolute written authority of God anywhere on this earth." Ruckman also believes that the Septuagint was a hoax created by the Alexandrian cult in the 3rd century A.D. in order to subvert belief in the integrity of the Bible.

Not surprisingly, Ruckman's position on the exclusive authority of the KJV is strongly opposed by many supporters of biblical inerrancy, including signers of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy who specifically "deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs [and] further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant."

Even other supporters of the King James Only movement reject Ruckman's position that the English KJV is superior to existing Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and they also criticize Ruckman because "his writings are so acerbic, so offensive and mean-spirited that the entire movement has become identified with his kind of confrontational attitude."

Controversialist

Ruckman is known for his confrontational approach. James R. White states in his book, The King James Only Controversy, that to call Ruckman "outspoken is to engage in an exercise in understatement. Caustic is too mild a term; bombastic is a little more accurate.…There is no doubt that Peter S. Ruckman is brilliant, in a strange sort of way. His mental powers are plainly demonstrated in his books, though most people do not bother to read far enough to recognize this due to the constant stream of invective that is to be found on nearly every page. And yet his cocky confidence attracts many people to his viewpoint." One Ruckman letter to an opponent begins, "Dear Scumbucket." The website of Ruckman's press notes that although some have called his writings "mean spirited," "we refer to them as 'Truth With An Attitude.'" He once described the New American Standard Bible as "more of the same old godless, depraved crap"and a rival KJV-Only supporter, a "puffed up conceited ass." Although Ruckman graduated from Bob Jones Universitymarker, he has referred to it as "the World's Most Unusual Hell Hole"

Ruckman has many ideas that differ from those of typical Baptist fundamentalists. For instance, he does not believe that a fetus becomes a living soul until it is born and takes its first breath. His unusual ideas extend beyond the Bible as well. Ruckman believes in UFOs and blue aliens with blue blood, black aliens with green blood, and gray aliens with clear blood. Further, he believes that the CIA has implanted brain transmitters in children, old people, and African-Americans and that the agency operates underground alien breeding facilities. In 1997, Ruckman claimed that Attorney General Janet Reno had drawn up a list with his name on it and prophesied that the "Government Mafia" would make a hit on him during "the next two or three years."

Pensacola Bible Institute

In 1965 Ruckman founded Pensacola Bible Institute (PBI), in part, because of his disagreements with other institutions in regard to Biblical translations. Pensacola Bible Institute—unrelated to Pensacola Christian Collegemarker—is not accredited by any agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education. It does not accept government funding nor participate in the student loan program. The school has no website other than the Bible Baptist Bookstore site.

Notes

Further reading




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