Did Dr. Don
Wilkins Really Lose His Voice on a Recent Taping of The John Ankerberg Show on the New
Many people have written us at The John Ankerberg Show
asking if the claims of Texe Marrs concerning a recent television taping were true. Now it
is necessary to set the record straight.
Unfortunately, a characteristic feature of much KJV Onlyism
is that its zealous proponents are often unfair and biased in their use of facts. Yet they
claim to be concerned about the truth.
Farstad, general editor of the New King James
Version (NKJV), is hardly alone when he observed on the program, "Ive been
accused of a number of heinous crimes that Ive never done."
God takes truth very seriously because He is a God of
truth. He warns in Scripture against false witnesses and those who would lie against the
truth: "A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells
lies" (Proverbs 12:17). The Scripture also tells us that we are to avoid those who
cause dissension: "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause
. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord
" (Romans 16:17-18).
In Flashpoint, the monthly newsletter of Texe Marrs
ministry for October 1995, p. 3, we find an article titled,
"SHOCKER!BIBLE SCHOLAR LOSES VOICE ON THE JOHN
ANKERBERG TV SHOW."
This article typifies the distortion that characterizes the
arguments and approach of the KJVO camp toward those whom it considers its opponents.
Texe Marrs wrote that Dr. Don Wilkins had lost his voice
during the taping of the Ankerberg program on the issue of new Bible translations. He
begins the article by saying, "You can call it pure justice, a sign from God, or
whatever you want, but eyebrows were sure raised recently during the tapings for Christian
TVs The John Ankerberg Show."
Then Marrs begins a series of distortions. First, he
alleges that John Ankerberg attempted to "stack the deck" by having "five
new version scholars but only three King James advocates." But there was no
attempt to "stack the deck." Six KJVO advocates were invited; only three chose
to appear. Gail Riplinger, Peter Ruckman and D. A. Waite, all leaders in the KJVO camp, declined
Second, Marrs calls Ankerberg "a bitter opponent of
the King James Bible," but this is also false. If it were true, why would John
offer the King James Version as a premium on his TV shows? Why would he also offer
quality study aids for the KJV?
Third, Marrs claims on one of the shows that Don Wilkins
lost his voice, presumably as a punishment from God:
[It] happened when Ankerberg asked Dr. Don Wilkins, head of
the New King James Version translation committee a key question. "Is it
true," asked Ankerberg, "as Gail Riplinger reported in her best-selling book, New
Age Bible Versions, that a number of the scholars that worked on the new translation
committees lost their voice as punishment by God?"
As the TV cameras captured the moment, Dr. Wilkins opened
his mouth to answerand nothing came out! No sound! Wilkins kept trying to clear his
throat, but he couldnt respond. Ankerberg and the other new version scholars were
visibly startled. Finally an embarrassed and frightened Wilkins was able to screech out in
a cracking, almost inaudible manner, "I...Ive...lost...my voice!"
A shocked John Ankerberg ordered the cameras to stop and
back up, whereupon Dr. Joseph Chambers, a King James Only advocate, politely protested.
"The cameras should record exactly what happened here," Chambers insisted. But
Ankerberg was hearing none of it. After a brief delay, the TV cameras began to roll again,
after the amazing segment of Dr. Wilkins losing his voice had conveniently been
This reporting is one long misrepresentation. First, Dr.
Don Wilkins was on the translation committee of the New American Standard Bible,
not the New King James Version, as Marrs stated.
Second, in previous shows Ankerberg had commented about
Riplingers claim that new translations editors had lost their voices. He wanted an
answer on this to quell the rumor and set the record straight since, obviously, none of
the people present had lost their voices and neither did they know of this occurring to
anyone else. But on the segment reported by Marrs, this was not Ankerbergs question.
Ankerbergs question was to ask Wilkins about the credibility of Riplingers
book. So Marrs has distorted the context as well.
Third, the event in question was not at all like Marrs
reported it. Dr. John Weldon, Chief Researcher for ATRI, personally reviewed this segment
of the tape where Wilkins supposedly lost his voice. He didnt lose his voice at all;
he merely developed a "frog" in his throat which took about five seconds to
cough out. This happens to people all the time and is hardly a sign of Gods
judgment, nor would it be unexpected with someone who had just flown in from Athens,
Greece and was tired. In response, Wilkins simply cleared his throat and said, a bit
embarrassed, but half in jest, "Im losing my voice." Everyone laughed and
he took a drink of water and then proceeded to answer Ankerbergs question concerning
the unreliability of Riplingers book. He went on immediately to state that the
Lockman Foundation had spent six weeks in investigation of Riplingers book and that
"what I personally found is that virtually everything she says is wrong, or a
misquotation or a deliberate deception of people
So Wilkins did not lose his voice, Ankerberg and the
new version scholars were not "visibly startled," or "shocked,"
Wilkins was not "embarrassed and frightened," etc.
If this really had been a punishment of God, as was the
biblical case of Zechariah, Wilkins would not have been able to continue speaking at all.
In the case of Zechariah, the angel pronounced a judgment that he would be unable to speak
for a full nine months because he had not believed the angels words concerning the
miraculous birth of John the Baptist: "And now you will be silent and not able to
speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come
true at their proper time" (Luke 1:20). Zechariah was indeed mute for an entire nine
months (Luke 1:24, 57, 64). So, why did God allow Dr. Wilkins to continue speaking and
mention that the Lockman Foundation had investigated Riplingers book and found it
was completely false as to its claims? As James White, a participant in the debate,
pointed out in, "The View from Marrs:"
Dr. Wilkins had one single problem; he immediately
recovered and went on to demonstrate errors in KJV Only viewpoints. Dr. Wallace had flown
in just an hour before the program began, yet he had no problems. I had no problems, Dr.
Barker had no problems, and Dr. Farstad had no problems, either. Cant we use the
term "desperation" to describe the KJV Only attempt to read into this incident
some divine judgment? Why didnt God keep us all from discussing Riplingers
errors? Why did Dr. Wilkins problem last for just a few seconds? And why did God
allow us to repeatedly refute the KJV Only arguments through all eight programs?1
The John Ankerberg Show does its very best to produce
quality Christian apologetics that attempt to defend the truth of the Christian faith and
offer a biblical and reasoned evaluation of current issues. Unfortunately, the church of
past and present has usually been less than excited about supporting apologetic
ministries, cult evangelism, etc. Those like Dr. Ankerberg who suffer the personal and
ministerial consequences of seeking to defend the truth should be commended rather than
being unfairly criticized.
James White, "The View from
Marrs," fax to John
Weldon dated October 16, 1995.
For those who want to view this 30 minute
segment, please call the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute at (423) 892-7722
It is available for a gift of $19.