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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 document. 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. ******************************** FREE SUBSCRIPTION: A free one-year subscription to The Skeptical Review can be obtained by writing to P. O. Box 617, Canton, IL 61520-0617.

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