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Pages 14-15: summer 1992 READER REACTION We receive many interesting letters that, regrettably, we have no space to print and often no time to respond to. In this issue, we are publishing three letters that we believe will be of particular interest to our readers. I have been reading your debates, and they are great! You really put your opponents to shame, and all they can do is use ad hominem attacks. I have a couple of comments to make on your literature.... In Mac Deaver's article (Vol. 2, Num. 3, p. 5), he said God would not tolerate graven images. If I read correctly, Moses was instructed, by God, to make the ark of testimony (Ex. 25:10-22). On the mercy seat were to be "two cherubim of gold." Wouldn't this violate the commandment against graven images? Moses said that he made the ark (Dt. 10:3), but he also said that "Bezaleel made the ark" (Ex. 37:1). Who really made it? "Moses made a serpent of brass" (Num. 21:9), which was destroyed by Hezekiah about 750 years later, and which "the Children of Israel did burn incense to" (2 Kings 18:4). These cherubim and the serpent sound like violations of Deuteronomy 5:8, don't you think? Another comment, this one made by Steve Gunter in volume two, number 4, page 7, concerns Genesis 3:20: "Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." At the time this statement was alleged to have been said, there were only two people on earth. Adam had been formed from dust, and Eve had been made from Adam's rib. Of whom was Eve the mother? On the subject of failed land promises, look at Hebrews 11:8-9. The writer says the land was to be an inheritance, and Isaac and Jacob were heirs with Abraham. Verse 39 clearly says that all the heroes of Hebrews 11 "received not the promise." Romans 8:16-17 calls believers "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." Here is the problem! If you are an heir, you must wait for the death of the one who made you an heir. If you are an "heir of God," you must wait for God to die. One final comment concerns the Book of Daniel. Fundies think it was written in the 6th century B.C., but scholars say it was written about 165 B.C. The easiest way to resolve it is to ask why Daniel was not among the Books of the Prophets that became scripture about 200 B.C. The answer is simple: it hadn't been written yet. The Book of Daniel surely would have been included if it was as old as they believe. I think the main problem with Christians is in taking the Jewish Bible and presuming to tell the Jews what it means. If only they would ask the Jews to explain their book, many silly prophecy fulfillments would disap pear. (This letter was received from Fred Acquistapace, the author of Miracles That Never Were. The writer and information about his book can be obtained by writing to him at 3505 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95407.) ***************************** In replying to your argument that the Bible makes God out to be a liar, Michael Hughes used a revealing phrase occasionally employed by Bible-believing Christians. I've underlined the phrase in question: Of course, one can be like those Isra elites and believe (or do) that which is right in their own eyes.... At the heart of this phrase (which originally referred to the anarchy prevailing in the time of the bibli cal judges) lies an enormous conceit inherent in many religions and especially in Bible-believing Christianity. In effect, the Bible- believing Christian is saying that his Bible, or rather his interpretation of it, is the standard by which all truth must be measured. People who dare to think for themselves are, of course, guilty of doing that which is right in their own eyes, meaning that they have rebelled against "God's truth." This subtle put-down is answered by noting that the conscientious, Bible-believing Christian always does that which is right in his or her own eyes. They are no different from pagans, atheists or humanists in that respect. If one acts according to conscience, Bible or no Bible, then one necessarily does what is right in one's own eyes. 1 Thus, as we penetrate to the core of this little code-phrase, we see that it is a subtle vehicle to put down other beliefs without the benefit of analysis. Needless to say, the privileged position which Bible believing Christians generously assign to themselves and their Bible, at the expense of everyone else, is confined to their own circles. Such claims are rightly rejected by the majority of the world's people. Nei ther do they find support among mainstream Bible scholars who know the Bible all too well. In asserting that the world's many religions and philosophies are false save his very own, the Bible believing Christian has, in the final analysis, demonstrated his own intellectual bankruptcy. (This letter came from Dave Matson, 330 South Hill Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106. His article "A Very Great City" appeared in the Spring 1992 issue of TSR.) ******************** The third letter was written not to us but to someone who has frequently been mentioned in TSR. Dear Mr. Jackson: Thank you for the copy of your editorial on Mr. Farrell Till, which you sent me in reply to my recent letter. I am sorry to say that I am baffled by it. You give your readers the impression that it is you who is being asked to provide a forum for Mr. Till's views in your publication. Isn't it the truth that it is Mr. Till who is offering you room for your views on the Bible in his publication? If Mr. Till is, as you say, "propagating error," then why don't you jump at the chance to propagate truth? It is all very well to preach to the converted, as I suppose you do, but if a shepherd has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray (Matt. 18:12)? But this does not apply to Mr. Till alone; it applies to each and every one of the readers of his publication. If you have the truth, you should not hide it in a bushel basket or under the bed; you should take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you to proclaim it to the world--even from within the camp of the enemy. If God is with you, who can be against you? I look forward to seeing your presentation of the truth in Mr. Till's publication in the near future. I hope you are not ashamed of the Son of Man or his words or he will be ashamed of you when he comes again in his glory (Luke 9:26). A TWO-THOUSAND-DOLLAR OPPORTUNITY The last letter, of course, was written to Wayne Jackson, the editor of Christian Courier, a publication that we have often quoted in TSR. It was written by Ralph Nielsen, 334 Lauder, Moscow, ID 83843-2514, in response to Jackson's attempt to explain to Nielsen why he refuses TSR's offer of pub- lishing space to respond to our articles about his absurd inerrancy views. As a reader of Mr. Jackson's paper, I have noticed that he sometimes solicits contributions to keep his paper solvent, so we welcome the opportuni- ty to let him know how he can give Christian Courier a $2,000 shot in the arm. Mr. Nielsen has had a longstanding offer of a $1,000 reward to anyone who can take all accounts of the resurrection in the four gospels, Acts, and 1 Corinthians 15, and write a single narrative in which he includes every event and detail mentioned in the separate accounts and do so without omit- ting anything or injecting inconsistency, contradiction, or purely speculative materials into the narrative. To sweeten the pot a little, The Skeptical Review will add another $1,000 to Mr. Nielsen's offer. Wayne Jackson constantly proclaims the "uncanny accuracy" of the Bible, so this offer will afford him the opportunity to demonstrate that and at the same time pick up an easy $2,000 that he can apply to his publishing needs or else spend as he sees fit. The offer is open to anyone who wants to go for 2 it. Wayne Jackson, Bert Thompson, W. Terry Varner, Jerry Moffitt, Roy and Mac Deaver, Michael Hatcher, Buster Dobbs, Jerry McDonald, Michael Hughes, Gleason Archer, Steve Gunter, Bill Lockwood, Robert Morey, William Bischoff, John Robbins, Tom Fishbeck, Charles Provan, James White, Herman Otten--all of you inerrancy defenders who receive The Skeptical Review, where are you? ***************************** SARAH... Sarah to change her mind. If Till knew as much about the female gender as he should, for he is married, he would know women have the right to change their minds! But I suppose this is the amount of grace that flows from an agnostic. You can expect no more. Yes, you can count on "fundamentalists" to continue to proclaim the complete inerrancy of God's Word, and the more I read such stuff as TSR passes out seeking to dethrone the Bible, I can only wonder why more read- ers do not grow tired of Till's "leaps of logic." (1) Sarah laughed. (2) Sarah had faith. (3) Therefore, her laughter was her faith. Come now, Till, will you not bone up on your logic? I suppose we have: (1) Till preached the gospel in pulpits of the churches of Christ. (2) Till founded TSR. (3) Therefore, Till preached skepticism in the pulpits. Who cannot see through this? Till wrote to me privately that I should not include a statement herein about my prayers for him to return to the way he once knew, but in this request, he agrees unwittingly with the Bible. Jeremiah the prophet was instructed by God regarding his fellow apostate Jews: "Pray not for this people... for I will not hear thee" (7:16; 11:14). Therefore, as much as I would like to pray for Till's speedy recovery from his spirit of delusion, I have God's word forbidding it to be done, and now Till agrees with the Father above that I should refrain. Well, Farrell, that is a start. (Bill Lockwood's address is 211 North 5th, Marlow, OK 73055). ********************************** COMPUTER BULLETINS We receive frequent requests for permission to use TSR materials in computer bulletins. Anyone wishing to do this need not write for permission. Nothing in TSR is copyrighted, specifically because we want the information to be spread as much as possible. We are already receiving subscription requests from those who have seen our articles in computer bulletins. We will copy all TSR articles to high density disks in either Wordstar 6 or WordPerfect 5.1 format for anyone wishing to use them in computer bulletins. Include $1 for return postage with your blank disk. ******************************** 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. 3


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