Editorials -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 095:378 (Apr 1938)
Article: Editorials
Author: Anonymous


Anonymous Criticism

Public speakers and writers often receive unsigned criticisms of their spoken or published views. These criticisms are usually couched in language much franker in tone than that of signed communications. When anonymity is resorted to as a license for expressions the anonym would not use over his signature, his action is an exhibition of cowardice which fair-minded men should ignore. Dr. Henry A. Ironside, speaking before a group of seminarians a few weeks ago, advised them to consign all such communications to the waste basket at once. Without question this is wholesome advice for young ministers.

An editor, however, is interested in the reactions of all sorts of people to the material passed over his desk for publication. He does not object to criticism, even severe criticism, provided it is fair in tone and constructive in intent; but mere dissent as a vehicle for personalities and unargued denials carries no weight and results in no conviction. Such dissent cannot justly be dignified under the category of criticism. A prime requisite for fair criticism is the ability of the critic to grasp the viewpoint of the author whose work is under scrutiny. Violation of this requisite is the commonest feature of much of the unthought-out criticism appearing in the religious press of our day, some of it dignified by editorial captions.

The fine, constructive article by Mr. Kann on the History of Israel’s Blindness, published in the October-December issue, the thesis of which is the Scripture testimony concerning the cause, duration and end of this blindness as treated specifically by the Apostle Paul, brought to the editor’s desk an anonymous diatribe written wholly from the world’s viewpoint, summed up in these words: “One would think, after reading this article of blind ignorance, that it was written by

a simpleton.” It goes without saying that one who accepts the testimony of the Bible lays oneself open to the charge of being a simpleton, but in logic the charge cannot rest there. In this case that which is in question was written by the great Apostle to the Gentiles. If one is a simpleton for believing his words, the Apostle must share the onus of the charge. Nor will logic allow us to stop even here; for we cannot escape the question of Paul’s inspiration. This involvement of the Higher-Up-the inspiring Spirit-immediately furnishes the needed corrective.

In Dr. Evjen’s biography of J. H. W. Stuckenberg, he quotes from the latter’s notebook (E) in reference to the inadequacy of Kant’s philosophy; “Criticism is essential and there may be times when it is the chief work of philosophy. But the mind cannot rest in criticism, least of all i...

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