Vol.XII No.VII Pg.1
September 1975

Do Smart Men Differ?

Robert F. Turner

Critics of Christianity ask, Why do smart men differ on Bible themes? These critics rarely hang around long enough to hear the answer, for their attitude is the core for much of it. First, there are many hypocrites who wear the name Christian, and who, like the critics, ask such questions in an effort to escape responsibility. Smart men cant understand it — there is no need in my trying.

Second, we have emphasized each mans individual responsibility, and some take that to mean each man is a law unto himself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Under God, a mans right of choice is a responsibility to God. He is free to draw his own conclusions, but that doesnt guarantee his conclusions to be true. Many use this freedom as an excuse to ignore Gods word altogether.

Third, Christ is made unto us wisdom. . . The world by (its) wisdom knew not God.. . Things of God are given to the world through inspired messengers, and the (natural) man who refuses to receive the words of these messengers has no access to heavenly things. That is the import of 1Cor. 1:18 thru 2:16. When we are ready to receive the scriptures as the word of God (1 Thes. 2:13), it is sufficiently clear that we can understand it (Eph. 3:2-7). There is no inadequacy in the man God made, nor in the gospel God gave, in order to unity of faith. The problem is that men want not to understand, but to judge Gods word.

In unrevealed things men will differ; and that is why matters of human judgment and opinion should not be woven into lines of fellowship. There is value in this kind of difference, and in the toleration that must go with it. A smart man knows that. Most differences are in this category.

When a critic speaks so glibly of differences ask him to name some specific point on which smart men differ. Then see if he has seriously (hours of study) tried to fathom it. Does he put self (feelings or some mystical guidance) before the word? Will he receive a thing as true because God said it? Is he charitable regarding opinions? He may discover that smart men see it alike.