Open Letter

Connie W. Adams, Shane Scott, Tim Haile, Miracles, Truth Magazine, and the CD

Ferrell Jenkins

 


(Editor's Note: Brother Bill H. Reeves reviews this article with his article entitle, Observations on the Article by Ferrell Kenkins entitle, 'Connie W. Adams, Shane Scott, Tim Haile, Miracles, Truth Magazine, and the CD'", after reading this article, please click here to read brother Reeve's response.)


Connie W. Adams and I worked together with the Brown Street church in 1967-68. It was a busy, profitable and enjoyable work. He has visited in our home many times since we moved to Florida in December, 1968. It was with disappointment that I read his article on "The Days of Creation" in Truth Magazine (July 6, 2000). The article was mostly about Florida College and Shane Scott, a member of the Biblical Studies faculty at Florida College.

A New Criticism

Connie's article was sent to Colly Caldwell by Mike Willis, editor of Truth Magazine, in early June. I first saw it on June 9. Both Caldwell and Scott prepared replies to the article within days and had hoped they would be run in the same issue of the paper. But they were not. After waiting until July 24, Caldwell and Scott have agreed for me to post their replies at http://bibleworld.com. I trust you will read that material.

This article is about some inconsistencies, even hypocritical conduct I have observed recently. Those who prepared the Open Letter introduced a new criticism of which I was not aware when I gave my speech at the Florida College lectures, Feb. 8, 2000. My speech is available at http://bibleworld.com. Had I been aware that this was an issue of importance I would have addressed it at that time.

Tim Haile, who is unknown to me, tells the readers of Gospel Anchor (electronic magazine) why he signed the Open Letter. Apparently some coeditors of some gospel papers (he does not call names) has called the letter a "Creed." Tim seems very sensitive about this matter. He says something that is crucial to a proper understanding of the spirit back of the Open Letter.

Observe carefully: "The presence of their name indicates their approval of the materials published in their paper, unless otherwise stated."

Very interesting. If Hill Roberts taught evolution at Florida College in Feb., 1999, I said I disagreed with it in my speech (Feb., 2000). That should clear me. I had no idea that anyone would ever think I had ever entertained any idea of the truthfulness of the theory of evolution of either the animate or the inanimate universe.

There, I said it again. I believe any such view is erroneous (= false) no matter who advocates it.

What brother Haile tells us is that all SIXTY ONE (later SIXTY SEVEN; maybe more) of these men had to agree to the full content of the letter unless otherwise stated. He said,

I suppose this is why it was important for me to denounce a CD that is said to have contained material which advocated the theory of evolution. Let's buy into this line of reasoning for a while and see where it leads.

What I Found in Truth Magazine

In the same issue of Truth Magazine with brother Adam's article there is an advertisement for the "James Burton Coffman Bible Study Library (New Testament)." This is a CD-Rom which contains the entire text of the Coffman Commentaries on the New Testament. It is said to be "a bargain at $39.95" (page 409). This is not the first time this advertisement has appeared in the magazine (see June 15, 2000 issue).

According to Haile, this means that Connie W. Adams, J. Wiley Adams, Bill Cavender, Larry Hafley, Ron Holbrook, Daniel H. King, Donnie V. Rader, Tom Roberts, Bobby Witherington, Harry Osborne (all of whom signed the Open Letter with Haile) agree with everything in the magazine. Let's see what is on this CD by Coffman.

In Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, brother Coffman commented on Paul's phrase, "Not under bondage" (1 Cor. 7:15) in some detail. Here is a summary of his comments:

Are All the Miracles of the Bible Instantaneous?

In the Open Letter we are given the benefit of the study of the 61 men regarding miracles. They introduce the miracle recorded in Mark 2 and Matthew 9. From this account of instantaneous action they draw the conclusion that such is true of all miracles. They appeal to what "faithful brethren" have done in the past (yet several of them have said they care not what Restoration leaders and others have said about these issues):

The creation of the inanimate universe was instantaneous (Gen. 1:1), but according to many of the men who signed the Open Letter there may have been much time between that creation and God's forming or fashioning the earth which He did in six days. Some of them are willing to wait a long time before God continued His work. I speak of the Gap Theory which is assumed by Frost, Needham, Martin and others who signed the letter. The Gap Theory can be found in the blank space between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2. It may be true, and many brethren have held the view, but I am not willing to be dogmatic about something for which I have no evidence. I have understood that these views were taken in an effort to harmonize the Bible with the apparent long age of geology without compromising with evolution. Certainly we should not charge a brother who advocates the Gap Theory with believing in evolution.

But, back to the Coffman CD. In his Commentary on Mark, Coffman comments on the miracle of the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mk. 8:22-26). He cites Dummelow who observed that "the man was healed in stages." Coffman says,

What are readers of Truth Magazine to think when they buy the Coffman CD and read the Open Letter?

R. C. Trench, in his Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord (1874), points out the gradual nature of this miracle.

Trench also mentions Chrysostom's explanation of the "gradual cure."

Mark in the Truth Commentaries. The most recent release in the new Truth Commentaries, published by the Guardian of Truth Foundation and edited by Mike Willis, is the volume on Mark by L. A Stauffer. Brother Stauffer's comments on Mark 8 evidently did not get to the 61 who signed the Open Letter. Had it done so I am sure they would have informed him that he was denying the miraculous in the Bible. Even the men who are writing this series of commentaries (Dan King wrote the commentary on John) are not in agreement on this fundamental point which "faithful brethren" have pointed out as an "obvious" characteristic of miracles. Here is what Stauffer has to say:

Can you imagine the confusion in the minds of brethren when they get this material. Guardian of Truth publishes and sells both Truth Magazine and the Truth Commentaries, both edited by Mike Willis. Who is right? Mike Willis and L. A. Stauffer? Or, the Staff Writers who signed the Open Letter? Connie W. Adams, J. Wiley Adams, Bill Cavender, Larry Hafley, Ron Holbrook, Daniel H. King, Donnie V. Rader, Tom Roberts, Bobby Witherington, Harry Osborne.

I agree that the miracle of Mark 2 was instantaneous and that most of the miracles of the Bible are. When the JW's tell us that nephesh (soul, Gen. 2:7) means animal life and conclude that soul is nothing more than animal life, we simple cite references where the Hebrew term nephesh and the Greek term psuche mean more than animal life. There are other examples of miracles recorded in the Bible which were not instantaneous. All of us need to be more careful in our study.

The signers of the Open Letter have built their whole case on a fallacious argument. Let me make it clear that I think there is sufficient evidence in Genesis 1 for me to conclude that the "days" are literal, solar days. Many conservative scholars see a problem with concluding that the first three days were 24-hour days because the sun and moon had not been positioned to determine days and seasons. There is good biblical evidence that day 7 may not be a literal 24-hour day. The term day (Hebrew yom) is used many times in the Bible of a period not to be identified with a 24-hour day. All of these things must be considered as we seriously study this issue. Conservative brethren who hold a strong anti-evolution position have recognized these problems. In a separate article, "The Creation Controversy and Florida College" I have discussed the views of the late W. W. Otey who has been hailed by brethren as a "Contender for the Faith." You may read the article at http://bibleworld.com

Could Truth Magazine Give Away Coffman's CD?

I assume that most of the men who signed the Open Letter believe that Coffman's view on 1 Corinthians 7:15 is false doctrine, as I do. Would it be wrong for the Guardian of Truth Foundation to give away Coffman's CD to its readers? They sometimes give away copies of Truth Magazine which is normally sold. Could they give away a copy of Mark by L. A. Stauffer and edited by Mike Willis? Could they publish and sell (I have paid in advance!) in Truth Magazine a copy of the Open Letter which contains this glaring contradiction with the published views of the Foundation? Will it be permissible for the Foundation to give away copies of the magazine containing the Open Letter? Or, a copy of Mark by Stauffer (edited by Willis)? Which will they reject and condemn? Truth Magazine with the Open Letter (at least 10 Staff Writers are signatories and two of them are on the Board of Directors of the GOT Foundation), or Mark by Stauffer (edited by Willis)? Would it be wrong for them to allow Hill Roberts to distribute his CD to the readers of Truth Magazine (or Gospel Anchor) who desire a copy? My, My! The webs we mortals weave.

Could Florida College Sell Hill Robert's CD for $39.95?

Let's tighten the parallel. If Florida College Bookstore stocked Hill Roberts' CD and charged $39.95 for it, would that be all right? Brother Robert's might like it. Would it be acceptable for both brother Roberts and the Guardian of Truth bookstores to have rented space in the Publisher's Display at Florida College during the lectures? Could Hill display his CD? Could GOT display Coffman's CD and Stauffer's commentary? Like brother Haile said, "Let's be consistent, brethren. It is "inexcusable" to practice the very thing that you condemn in others (Rom. 2:1)."

Other Advertisements in Truth Magazine

In recent issues of Truth Magazine I have seen advertisements for the following books:

In addition to the works cited above, I see several advertisements in recent issues of Truth Magazine for books on apologetics or evidences written by denominational scholars. Ron Holbrook, in his booklet Trends Pointing Toward A New Apostasy, has given a legitimate and needed warning:

What About Donations to Guardian of Truth Foundation?

If the Guardian of Truth Foundation, which has received donations from individuals to assist in its work, decided to give away some books, say in the Philippine Islands, would Gene Frost, Maurice Barnett and Tim Haile agree? Maybe send a donation to help?

Where It All Leads

Now, let's use the kind of reasoning I have been seeing lately and see where it leads. I, too, am concerned about where things lead. Let's go back to the Coffman CD. Suppose a person enjoyed the commentaries by Coffman and decided to secure some of the Old Testament volumes. Suppose she/he decided to buy the Commentary on Genesis. Here is what one would find about the "days" of Genesis:

What Will Truth Magazine Do About This?

Will Truth Magazine stop advertising all of these books and CD's? Will they recall Mark by Stauffer (edited by Willis) or replace their Staff Writers and Directors who have taken this contradictory view on instantaneous miracles? Like brother Haile said, "Let's be consistent, brethren. It is "inexcusable" to practice the very thing that you condemn in others (Rom. 2:1)."


© Ferrell Jenkins 2000.
http://bibleworld.com