Vol.V No.I Pg.5
March 1968

"Academic Convictions"

Robert F. Turner

FAITH is inward conviction, trust, complete confidence. When the scriptures say, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness;" -- and we know "heart" refers to the center of thought, emotions, and will -- we may rightly conclude that FAITH involves the intellect. Philip called upon the eunuch to believe "with all thine heart" (Rom. 10:10; Acts 8:37)

What hypocrisy is this that allows one to "believe" (?) in God and His ways with one side of the heart, but to hold "mental reservations" or some "academic convictions" with the other side of the heart?

Returning praise for praise, the editor of ACTION says, "____ ____ is another of our brilliant young gospel preachers with degrees. He has his "academic convictions" but stands foursquare with the great Shaw Street church in _______ where men of God guide it on to higher ground." His "academic convictions" are here contrasted with ("but") the church. Now if that church is true to God's Word, we have a dangerous contrast indeed.

In the same issue, the editor says a solution has been reached to some church division back east; and tells his part in the action thusly: " __________ and I spent almost all night in my room at the DuPont Hotel with the brilliant young preacher who had much to do with this division. We were unable to restrain his academic convictions.

Each of us may have similar convictions which conflict with present procedures but all the improvements which might be made, the church as we know it is generally on mighty solid ground and care should be taken of intellectuals who may introduce too drastic changes. There must always be thinking ahead but there is also a danger in running too fast."

In both of these cases "academic conviction" seems to be something different from the "old paths" -- something to be held in check until there is a more opportune time. Current practices of "our denomination" seem to be the norm, against which "drastic changes" must not be introduced -- but this is for policy, not for conviction's sake. These "men of God" go right on with their "academic convictions" which differ from their current practices. And this is the voice which cries for greater faith in God, and more of the spirit of Christ, and more personal dedication to the Lord!

We have experienced the conflict of "academic conviction" and faith in God's word -- but we never entertained the thought that they could continue to live side by side. We are thankful to God that the difference could be resolved, and faith in God could take the place of the doubts raised while under the spell of university professors. We appreciate the need for understanding, and a willingness to assist; but make no mistake about it; when "academic convictions" differ with God's revealed will, faith has suffered. Conversely, if one has come to know a truth of God not known or practiced by his brethren, it needs to be placed in the open so others may profit thereby.

Let us reconsider 1 Cor. 1:18-f.!!