Editor’s Column -- By: Bruce A. Ware
JBMW 7:2 (Fall 2002) p. 2
President, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood;
Senior Associate Dean, School of Theology
Professor of Christian Theology
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The life and fellowship of Christians in history is to be a foretaste of life in the Kingdom of God and is to reflect in the world something of what the eschatological reality will be,” so wrote George Eldon Ladd nearly 30 years ago.1 I have thought often, during the past nine months, about the truths reflected in this quote in light of the vigorous disagreement among evangelical Christians over the TNIV. It seems clear that Ladd was partly right, but partly wrong. You see, one (of many!) major difference between life this side of the eschaton and life then is that then - but not until then - we will have no more disagreements. What glory this will be! All of us, no matter what side we’ve taken in this life, will have our errors corrected. There will be no “four views” books in heaven! We will revel in the truth that has, finally and fully, set us free. But, this side of glory, we will differ, and here - in relation to the TNIV - it is clear, we do differ.
So, how shall we manifest, in our differences, “a foretaste of life in the Kingdom of God”? Two answers: 1) As we seek, before God, to advance the truth, we hearken to that day when the truth will have prevailed. As lovers of the truth, and lovers of the Word of truth, we exhibit now what we shall all experience unfettered in the full flowering of the Kingdom. Let it be clear: those of us who have tried to make our case that the TNIV is not sufficiently accurate to commend to the church have done so with a deep love for the truth and for the Word of truth. I have no doubt that many on the other side have also. In our differences, may we always seek to advance the truth, admit when we are wrong, and seek, before God, to embrace the conviction that knowing the truth (as truth) always and only is the path to true liberation. 2) As we seek, before God, to disagree with respect and charity, we manifest now the characters that will be fully formed in Christlikeness in that coming day. Differences on this issue are weighty - nothing less than the Bible itself, as read and studied by millions of English speaking Christians - and convictions are strong. But, we have consciously and prayerfully endeavored to be fair, respectful, and charitable, while disagreeing strongly with those with whom we differ. Emotions can flare, and frustrations can bring out our worst dispositions, but in God’s grace, we must pray and work to evidence character that honors the gospel and manifests the kingdom, al...
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