The Authority For Faith And Practice
Sep 14, 2003 04:38 PDT
THE AUTHORITY for FAITH and PRACTICE
By Herb Evans
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common
salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye
should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered unto the
saints. -- Jude 1:3
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for
I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto
Abraham. -- Matt. 3:9
Lately, we have been hearing much ado about what historic Baptists believed
about the Bible (or the King James issue). The irony of it all is that
historic Baptists never meant or intended for themselves to be the
authority for faith and practice. Historic Baptists never intended for
creeds, confessions, catechisms, councils, commentaries, critical
dictionaries or Lexicons, or books of theology to bind their
progeny. Unlike Catholics and Protestants, the main Baptist distinctive
was that the scriptures were the sole authority for their faith and
practice as suggested by their historical writings and documents.
Certain modern Baptists would agree that their authority for faith and
practice is, indeed, still the scriptures. Yet, many of them would be hard
put to tell what or where the scriptures really are. They would agree that
the scriptures are the authority for faith and practice on everything . . .
except the scriptures. For information concerning the scriptures, they
would insist or imply that one must have a better authority than the
scriptures, i.e., history, confessions of faith, creeds, quotes from
Baptist preachers, critical dictionaries and concordances and lexicons,
systematic theology dogma, council decrees, Greek and Hebrew authorities
and experts, and the expertise of A Professor Doodle Dunker, Baptist First
An illustration of the typical "behind the scenes' seminary credo," despite
a showcase public statement of faith in an "intact" Bible (for future
potential seminary students), is born out by a former seminary Professor
(Ron Minton - Springfield "Baptist Graduate School of Theology" - now
fired), who wrote me (first) and asked me some "garden of Eden" type
questions relating to the Bible issue (we knew we were being set up). I
answered Minton's questions concisely and forthrightly, and I then turned
his own questions back to him, which seemed quite unexpected and irritating
to him. Obviously, Bible Correctors like to ask all the questions; they
are not very fond of answering them. The correspondence, which followed
between us, was filled with a dozen unsubstantiated, unfounded accusations,
charges, and criticism of me and a King James only Maryland pastor with
little profitable discussion of the issue.
Professor Minton's "probably(s), seem(s), believe(s), perhaps, I think(s),
to the best of my knowledge(s), it looks like(s), I have found(s), I don't
know(s), apparently(s), was about(s), and normally(s)" permeated the
correspondence, reflecting the poor man's uncertainty, doubts, opinions,
and mental reservations regarding the issue. Or else it reflected his
attempt to clothe or obscure what he really believed in order to avoid a
clearly stated position, which might be publicized.
Naturally, I proposed that Minton and I resolve our differences by backing
up everything that each of us declared about "inspiration" and
"preservation," using "only" the King James Bible by itself. I received a
hand scribbled note asking me to clarify that proposition, which I did.
That was the last that I heard from Professor Minton via snail mail (with
the exception of unrelated E-mail years later) Evidently, he thought that
to pursue Wally Beebe, Don Waite, and Gail Riplinger would be a more
profitable venture for his garden of Eden style approach.
Obviously, the statements of some late Baptists and Professor Doodle Dunker
are more suitable and appropriate for proving one's faithless
allegations. The "historical" apostle Paul, Peter, and John never
questioned or doubted the written word of God. They never used the phrase
"in the originals" nor "sacred biblical languages" nor "a better rendering"
nor "in the older or better manuscripts" nor "Spurgeon nor Vine nor
Robertson say . . ." nor "this is an unfortunate translation" nor "the
Greek or Hebrew really means."
If someone wants the historical Baptist position, open the King James Bible
and read it. One would not even have to learn Sanskrit or go to
Heidelberg, and one will not have to take someone else's word or opinion on
it either. J. Frank Norris was right, when he told us that Methodists
have Bishops and admit it. However, Baptists have Bishops and lie about it!