Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 130:518 (Apr 73) p. 171
“Which Laws Should Christians Break?” Raymond L. Cox, The Sunday School Times and Gospel Herald, November 1, 1972, pp. 4-6.
“Bibles for Smuggling,” Gerald Studer, Eternity, December, 1972, pp. 24-29.
“Should You Help the Bible Smugglers?” Eternity, December, 1972, pp. 29-30, 32–33.
These articles are brought together because there is an obvious tie. Cox deals with the biblical principles behind an issue of current significance; the articles in Eternity (plus an editorial on the same subject) discuss a contemporary problem in the application of those principles. It provides a fortuitous (Calvinistically speaking “providential”) combination of theory and practice.
The first point Cox makes is that “throughout the Scriptures” …the people of God are expected to be lawabiding citizens” (p. 4). The second is the obvious fact that the believer is responsible to obey the express commands of God. As a result “the biblical warrant” for a Christian to break a law is only in cases when “obedience to government directly contradicts obedience to God” (p. 6). Cox also concludes, “A Christian is not justified in arbitrarily deciding to disobey laws of which he disapproves if those laws do not interfere with his standing before, and service to, God” (p. 6).
Evangelical Christians generally agree with these conclusions. As a result they take exception to liberal churchmen who foster and even lead in civil disobedience to many laws which involve no contradiction of their obedience to God. The ironic fact is, however, that many of these same evangelicals support and promote agencies engaged in smuggling Bibles into Communist countries in violation of the laws of those lands. As the Eternity editorial asks in its headline, “Is Bible Smuggling Ethical?” In fact we could ask, “Is Bible smuggling biblical?”
BSac 130:518 (Apr 73) p. 172
The situation is not as black and white as the preceding discussion might imply. But Studer gives numerous examples of flagrant deception and even deliberate lying by Bible smugglers who justified their actions by the principle that the end justifles the means. He also points out that publicity about Bible smuggling has stiffened government policy in Russia and has brought unfortunate retaliation upon other Christian visitors and believers inside Russia. Studer also questions the need to smuggle Bibles into Russia in view of the publishing of the Scriptures by the government. He finally questions the methods of many of the agencies promoting Bible smuggling.
“The Significance of the Extension Seminary,” Ted Ward and Samuel...
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