Vol.IV No.XI Pg.6
January 1968

Fresh Quote On Old Problem

Robert F. Turner

We herewith quote our Bro. Tom Shiflett, Springfield, Mo., 1967. It _is refreshing to know one well qualified academically yet holds to the distinctively peculiar power of FAITH.

In an exchange recorded in the October, 1967, RESTORATION REVIEW between Doctors James Bales and Pat Hardeman, the latter poses a question designed to take to task "the generally two-fold practice of (1) excluding human tradition when you debate with Roman Catholics, and (2) instantly relying on traditions-- Church Fathers, archeological testimony, etc.-- when you are defending the canonicity of the 27 books of the New Testament."

When a person comes to examine this contradiction in attitude he is well able to see that there is an inconsistency. Almost everyone would agree that such an inconsistency is quite undesirable and that one should quit one or the other of these practices. One gathers that Dr. Hardeman would have it that relieving the strain from the Roman Catholics would be the logical choice, but he is human, and this procedure could well be attributed to the wisdom of man.

Paul counted it a crucial matter that the faith of the Corinthians not stand in the wisdom of man, but rather that it should stand in the power of God. (1 Cor.2:1-5) It would appear that the proper thing to do is to cease this "instantly relying on tradition-Church Fathers, archeological testimony, etc.-- when defending the canonicity of the 27 books of the New Testament." For that matter, just about how much time does the Christian have to spend "defending the canonicity of the 27 books of the New Testament?" Did not Paul also teach that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God?" (Rom. 10:17) There have been untold thousands who have come to obedience and salvation by the simple expedient of hearing God's word who never knew of the existence of Eusebius or Justin or Origen, let alone made any attempt to defend "the canonicity of the 27 books of the New Testament."

Of course, there are many who would label this kind of thinking as antiintellectual, and properly so. But, to borrow an expression from the moderns, that's the name of the game. If one is to believe the Bible, there is nothing whatsoever in intellectualism that will bring a person one whit closer to God. If people would spend more time studying 1 Cor. 1: and 2: and less time worrying about "defending the canonicity of the 27 books of the New Testament" they might well meet with much more disfavor from the wise, the scribes, and the disputers of this world, but they could well be among those saved by believing.

Jesus taught in Luke 8 that all it takes is the word and an honest and good heart which keeps it to bring forth fruit with patience. Those who criticize such a conclusion as is reached here may use many adjectives. They may call it naive, call it blind, call it unreasoning, even call it Stupid, but whatever adjective is used, it is still faith."

(See "Story of Text, 11" p. 4,)