Touch Not the Unclean Thing

A Review of the Book by David Sorenson

David Sorenson’s book begins with the three major positions of the textual debate. With simplicity and clarity he explains the differences among the King James only position, the Critical Text position, and the Received Text position. From the very beginning he shows the distinction between the “King James Only” perspective and those who use the King James based on its textural reliability and the doctrine of preservation.

Sorenson then continues to explain the two streams of biblical text outlining the history of the Critical Text and the Received Text. He walks through the origin stories of these differing texts explaining that the Critical Text comes from the Alexandrian set of manuscripts originally found in Sinai and the Vatican, as opposed to the text that had come from Greece and had been traditionally received throughout Christianity for thousands of years; the Byzantine Manuscripts.

As Sorenson explains the history of both the Critical Text and the Received Text, it becomes very clear which one is more authoritative, pure, and doctrinally sound—the Received Text. Sorenson concludes his argument by convincing those with fundamental tendencies that since the core value of fundamentalism is separation from ungodly lifestyles, sins, and practices, we should separate from this ungodly text. He explains why the Critical Text is ungodly as he explains the history of the text, those who supported the text, and those who use the text. For Sorenson, the text issue is an issue of separation.

3 Great Strengths

This book has many strengths. First of all, the research was evident and exemplary. I was thankful to see each footnote and the extensive bibliography found in the back. Although this can be a very emotional issue, Sorenson approaches it in a rational, logical, and scriptural way, as he very clearly explains the position of the Received Text.

I also thought one of the great strengths of the book was the connection between the biblical doctrine of separation and the textual issue. The obvious acceptance of the Critical Text by liberal theologians, by apostate churches, and more recently, by the New Evangelical Movement should very clearly illustrate a problem with that text to those of fundamental doctrine .

The third great strength that I found is the focus on the text from which the King James Version was translated, not only the translation itself. There are so many times as a young minister that people will ask me why we are “King James only.” And so many times I feel as if I am grouped in with those who clearly believe something different about the text than I do.

Personal Help

This book has allowed me the opportunity of understanding more clearly that it is the text that is the issue. One of the greatest practical uses of this book was at the end when the writer expresses the problems in the New American Standard Version, the New International Version, and the New King James Version. He demonstrates by showing the verses that have been changed, deleted, or completely omitted from the text and how each and every one of these directly change the doctrinal purity of the text.

This book helped me in my ministry in that now I have a book that can be read simply, yet has been thoroughly researched that I can give to any Christian in my church. They will not become confused over the issue, but enlightened and at the same time be reinforced in the doctrine of separation. I highly recommend this book.


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