Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 23, 1963

Independent Thinking - Good Or Bad?

Robert H. Farish

HERMENEUTICS by D. R. Dungan is again available. This is one of the best, as well as the most popular, books written to aid people in understanding the Bible. This book continues popular in this day because it deals with problems which are universal and continue to crop up in each succeeding generation. "Status seeking" in our day has proved one of the most effective devices of the devil in dividing the Lord's people. Failure to distinguish between "stature" and "status" will lead to many miserable mistakes. Dungan's comments about those who seek status, or attempt to gain attention to themselves, by being different, are of current value and are well put.

Dungan wrote: "That the followers of Christ should be one, does not admit of a doubt. Jesus prayed for the unity of all those who should believe on him through the word of the apostles. The apostles condemned division on all occasions; even in an incipient form, they were regarded as carnal and proceeding from hearts not in unison with the will of Christ. Men who were division makers were regarded as unworthy of a place in the church, and after a first and second admonition were to be avoided. They were spoken of as not serving the Lord Jesus, but their own passions. But while we regard carnality, in the form of unsanctified ambitions, as the great cause of the divisions that now serve to mar the beauty of Zion and destroy the peace and power of the kingdom of Christ, it is not the only cause." (Hermeneutics, page 6)

Again he wrote: "Whatever of desire there may be to do good, by bringing out the meaning of the word of God, is certainly laudable. Or if there be a wish to excel in this effort to benefit the world, it is to be allowed and encouraged; but when the ambitious mind has only in view the exaltation of self, the exegete comes to stand in the way of every other effort than that which he is making, and his thirst for distinction even prevents the acceptance of the plain and simple truths of the gospel.... So do these, for the purpose of maintaining a reputation for independence of thought adopt anything and everything that promises to bring them to public view." (Ibid. page 46,47)

While Dungan's Hermeneutics is worthy of high praise, it, like every other human production, must be accepted only so far as human reason allows. Nothing from the pen of men should be accepted simply on the authority of the writer. Scriptures inspired of God are the only writings that should be accepted simply on the authority of the authority.

Hermeneutics by Dungan, may be ordered from the Gospel Guardian Co., Box 470, Lufkin, Texas. The price is $3.00 per copy.