"You just can't be any more NASB than we are," said pastor Doug Holstein of Clearwater Baptist Church in Tacoma, Washington. "We believe that the New American Standard Bible is the absolute perfect and preserved Bible. There's no need to go back to the Greek and Hebrew to understand some kind of 'deeper meaning' of the text. It's all right there in English, in the New American Standard."
Holstein's church of 45 members has held fervently to this position since its founding in 1980, and has put him and his congregation at odds on a number of occasions with other local churches.
"We don't put up with other modern per-versions of Scripture. If you want the only true Bible you've got to have a NASB."
The NASB (New American Standard Bible often pronounced "nazz-bee") is a revision from the ASV (American Standard Version) of 1901. The latest version of the NASB was updated and released in 1996. When asked about the fact that the NASB is itself a modern translation of Scripture Holstein replied, "I don't need your high-faluting scholarship! People think that you got to have some kind of education in order to understand the Bible, but that's just dumb. My faith is based on faith and not knowledge!"
Holstein further advocates the view that any difference between the English text of the NASB and the original Greek and Hebrew is divinely inspired.
"The English is superior to the Greek and Hebrew." Said Holstein. "I mean, how many people can speak Greek and Hebrew? Furthermore, if the English is somehow different from the Greek or Hebrew, then change the Greek or Hebrew. Don't mess with what's perfect already. If you've got the perfect word, why go backwards?"
"This is very strange," said the Rev. Lucas James of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Tacoma. "We personally use the New American Standard here in our congregation, but there is no basis, Biblical or historical, for saying that the NASB is somehow an inspired or perfect translation."
The membership at Clearwater Baptist Church has dropped for the past 12 consecutive years.
"He's an oddball with cult-like control over his congregation," said former member Chris Harrell. "Every time a member leaves or someone criticizes him from the community he takes that to mean he's being persecuted for his faith, and he rejoices all the more."
Despite criticism Holstein intends to become more fervent in his defense of the NASB.
"We lift up the NASB above all. If you want to be saved you better get one. If you don't know English you better get to learning."