Front Page: spring 1990 (continued p. 12)
WE COME NOT TO DESTROY THE BIBLE
Reaction to our first issue was mainly what we had expected. We
received a few letters of praise, but most of the mail was very negative. A
young lady in Louisiana wrote and asked us to take her name off our mailing
list. "As far as I'm concerned," she said, "it (TSR) is trash." We could
only assume that she thought Jerry Moffitt's rebuttal article was trash too,
and that's too bad. We thought that, for the position it defended, it was a
well written article.
Many copies were returned to us with "refused" stamped or written
above the address labels, and we have to wonder about the objectivity of
people who aren't even willing to consider opinions that disagree with theirs.
Do they seriously believe this is the way to discover truth? Two of those
who refused to accept their copies are actively involved in publishing The
Spiritual Sword, a guardian-of-the-faith paper sponsored by the Getwell
Church of Christ in Memphis. If they had mailed us a complimentary copy of
their paper and we had refused to accept it, they would undoubtedly accuse
us of being terribly close-minded, yet they probably see their own actions as
some kind of bold stand for the truth. Incidentally, we are not really ex-
pecting to receive a complimentary copy of The Spiritual Sword, because we
have twice sent to its editors subscription checks that have never been
acknowledged or cashed. If we can't even buy it, we aren't very likely to
get it free.
Some of the most abusive letters came from relatives and former friends
and associates of our missionary days. Many of these we have not bothered to
answer, because we can see nothing to be gained from trying to reason with
people determined to base friendship on matters of individual conscience.
When Peter and the other apostles were charged "not to teach in this name,"
they said, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:28-29), so all that
we ask of former friends and associates is the same kind of consideration: the
right to respect our consciences rather than follow what others think is the
correct course for us. After all, what good would it do us to fill a pew or a
pulpit if we just cannot believe what we would hear or be required to preach?
We have often been accused of wanting to destroy the Bible, but the
charge is simply not true. We have no desire to destroy the Bible; we just
want people to understand it. In the sermon on the mount (if it occurred as
recorded), Jesus tried to reassure those who thought he may have wanted to
destroy the law: "Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets; I
came not to destroy, but to fulfill," (Mat. 5:17). In the same way, we can
honestly say that we are not publishing this journal or engaging in public
debates with the hope that our activities will destroy the Bible. If any
person should seriously advocate that Bibles be collected and burned, we
would raise our voices in opposition to the proposal as loudly as any inerran-
cy advocate. It would be the height of folly to destroy a book that has
probably had more influence on western civilization than any other single
A better understanding of the Bible is what we hope to accomplish.
The problem is that the average "God-fearing" person doesn't really know
much about the Bible; he just knows that he is supposed to believe it is the
inspired, inerrant word of God. At home, his Bible is lying unopened, collect-
ing dust. If our quarterly journal or any of the debates we participate in
result in just one person like this studying the Bible in a serious, (see
DESTROY page 12) intelligent way to see if the inerrancy doctrine can be
sustained, we will consider our work worth the time and effort we are putting
into it. If after such a study, anyone chooses to continue believing in the
inerrancy of the Bible, he will at least have our respect, but what we can't
respect are the many who believe in Bible inerrancy without knowing why
they believe it. They just know that they are supposed to believe it. This
makes them no better than a Moslem who believes in the inspiration of the
Koran, because... well, just because he is supposed to believe it.
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