Vol. 15 New Series October, 1953 No. 5

Respectable writers have a conventional rule that when they quote others in criticism they must give full references. The reason is that this is the only way to ensure some standard of fairness and decency in their dealings with one another. It is manifestly unfair to quote anyone's words without giving the reader an opportunity to examine the context of the quotation or even to check its accuracy. It is therefore a sound practise in general to ignore any critic who avoids coming out into the open. This circumstance, by itself, suffices to prove that he is afraid of having the whole of the facts brought to light.

Unfortunately, this good rule cannot always be kept, however keenly one may wish to do so; for the interests of truth must come first.

A case in point is a recent issue of "The Berean Expositor" (May, 1953) which, I understand, has been published also as a pamphlet entitled "The Dispensational Frontier"; obtainable from Leonard A. Canning, 40, Tumblewood Road, Banstead, Surrey, England. Its sponsors evidently hope it will be accepted as a convincing reply to my published teaching regarding Acts in general and its closing words in particular. Its author mentions that I have already given him a free advertisement, and here is another; but he takes good care to see to it that no such advertisement will be given to me. Although 5½ lines, altogether, are devoted to a quotation from my writings, no reference whatever is given. The reason is obvious. It would never do for its readers to be able to study both sides of the matter. My readers will note, in turn, that I am not in the least afraid to enable them to study my critic's case. Truth does not shun full light.

Most of the pamphlet is occupied with notions which have already been refuted; but considerable space is given to what is, to me, a new theory regarding the Apostle Paul's vision on the road to Damascus. I must therefore, reluctantly give it attention. It is not set out at all clearly. Perhaps this obscurity is expedient, as it gives its author a loophole for escape, if this should eventually prove desirable; but, so far as I can make out, the idea is that the words of the Lord Jesus, quoted in Acts 26:15-17, form a SECOND commission to Paul, then and there revealed to him.
I quote:—

Unfortunately for this queer idea, the appearance of the Lord Jesus to which Paul was referring in Acts 26:15-17 was stated by him (vv. 12-14) to have occurred while he was going to Damascus. It is unquestionably the same as that recorded in Acts 9:3-6. Nor need we depend on the immediate context in Acts 26. The issue here is as simple as it is important—merely this: Did Paul's commission to the Gentiles date from Acts 9 or from Acts 26? The answer is perfectly plain. In Acts 10 Peter unlocked the Kingdom to the Gentiles. This cleared the way for Paul, who, in accordance with the principle enunciated in Romans, went to the Jew first and then turned to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46, 47). There is no way of getting round this fact. In closing, I appeal once again to those responsible for The Berean Expositor to treat this vitally important matter in a manner becoming of Christians. They are amused at my supposed "poverty of argument," but the poverty is in their own presentation of it—a mere 5½ lines of print—not in mine. By employing such methods they betray to us all their own complete lack of confidence in their own cause.

R. B. WITHERS. Last updated 8.1.2006