Telling It Like It Is
By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
It behooves a publication occasionally to repeat its purposes and policies. Otherwise the readers may become annoyed and quit the enterprise. It is unlikely this would happen to the Firm Foundation, but it is still important to restate who we are and what we are about.
"Never underestimate a reader," says Patricia Ryan. "The reader is twice as smart as you are." The relationship between magazines and readers is a mysterious one. If the chemistry is right, readers receive every issue with anticipation, and editors eagerly await their response (borrowed from Stephen Smith, Civilization magazine). This is an attempt to keep the right chemistry.
The aim of the Firm Foundation is to magnify the name of God and encourage allegiance to the Bible as a verbally inspired and, therefore, inerrant revelation. To make our way from darkness to light we must have a creditable, reliable, and unfailing guidebook (lamp). Our authoritative pattern is the Word of the Lord. If not, we have nothing to guide us but the ipse dixit of starry-eyed dreamers.
Uninspired pronouncements of the most educated men on earth — as fallible (ignorant) men count wisdom — is as "sounding brass and tinkling symbol" when compared with a "thus saith the Lord."
The Firm Foundation is not anti-education, but neither is it overawed by the extravagant claims of intellectual snobs. A wit once observed that some people become so educated (broadminded) all their brains fall out!
The Firm Foundation is dedicated to walking in the old paths and, consequently, vehemently opposing every departure from healthful teaching. We are strong in advocating Bible teaching and firm in condemning departures from the one faith. We are committed to a certain sound. We are unalterably opposed to uncertain sounds.
The publication is decisive but not divisive. We speak frankly and in the name of Christ, but it is not our purpose to alienate anyone. We learned this from the Lord. He spoke forcefully and would brook no denial of his teaching. His healing words were spoken with authority. The intent was to bring all humans together into one saved fellowship. When we "walk in the light as he was in the light, we have fellowship one with another." That is, rigidly following the teaching of Jesus will unite us. He is God. His teaching is true (one). Those who conscientiously conform to the one faith are the one body.
Messiah came to "cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth." That is why he came "riding upon an ass, even a colt the foal of an ass."
He is the Prince of Peace.
This battle-bow-cutter who speaks peace to the nations also said:
Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own house.
The Prince of Peace brings the sword of division. The paradox is easy to explain: If we accept the teaching of Jesus, we will be united with all others who accept the teaching of Jesus: if we reject the teaching of Jesus, we will be united with all others who reject the teaching of Jesus: If we accept the teaching of Jesus, but father, mother, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or whoever does not accept the teaching of Jesus, it will cause a split.
Jesus brings both peace (unity) and division, depending upon whether we accept or reject him. This is manifestly self-evident. Thinking people immediately see the point.
The Firm Foundation brings unity or division depending upon whether a person is obedient or rebellious to the teaching of Christ. Simple, isn't it? (Most profound things are uncomplicated.)
Some accuse the paper of hate mongering. The opposite is true. The Firm Foundation promotes love ... "If you love me you will keep my commands." When we insist on total submission to the Christ who died for us, we are advocating love — not hate.
The Firm Foundation seeks to engage frank, open, candid talk. We extend the invitation to debate to any qualified person who will keep a civil pen in his hand, and we pledge to do the same. We would like, for instance, for Resner to defend his charge that Mary of Nazareth was a "sexually questionable woman." Knowing what Resner means by "virgin birth" would also be interesting. Is it the same as "having never known a man"? We invite Osburn of Abilene to discuss with us his claim that the Bible has mistakes in history, geography, and science. We want to know what the mistakes are — especially the scientific ones. Our position is that the Bible is God breathed and contains no errors. (We speak, of course, of the original manuscripts — the autographs.)
We have noticed some inflammatory statements from those who promote the liberal agenda, but would not accuse them of hate mongering — that would be harsh and unkind.
We do not deal in personalities. We do identify whom we are talking about because that is fair to both the person and our readers. Still, we do not use personal ridicule nor speak disparagingly of anyone. We do address issues and deal with them straight out. The Scriptures tell us to "reprove them sharply." We do not hesitate to convict the gain-sayers, but we do not attack the person. We do show from the Word of God what is true and that necessarily entails bringing into focus what is wrong.
Anyway, for whatever it is worth to you, we at the Firm Foundation are congenial, sweet-tempered, kind, longsuffering, and pleasant. Still, when the credibility of God's everlasting Word is at stake, we ask and give no quarter. The stakes are too high. Eternity is before us.
We do not take kindly to calling the blessed mother of Jesus a "sexually questionable woman"; nor are we happy with the foolhardy denial of the verbal inspiration of the Bible and brash claim that it contains errors in geography, history and science. Anything that detracts from the Bible as the infallible word of the living God is odious to us. If that offends you, we make no apology.
We want everyone to be happy and to like us — just as we want to be happy and like everybody. Yet, we cannot abide some things. We shall never trade truth for popularity. Never! To make popularity our ambition is to be a traitor to God and the gospel. Paul said those having "itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will run away from the truth and turn aside unto fables." The price for popularity is to preach fables instead of truth.
Boiled down, it comes to this: The Firm Foundation is "set for the defense of the gospel." When gainsayers show up, we will have "no small dissension and questioning with them." We take no pleasure in the necessity of withstanding those who withstand truth. Still, before God, we cannot do otherwise.
We seriously attempt to keep balance in each issue of the publication. We deal with various Bible doctrines — some positive and some negative, because that is how the way the Bible does it.
Absolute balance, however, is not possible in the very nature of things. When your house is on fire, writing cheery notes about last year's vacation is difficult. When the battlements of the church are under attack, we necessarily rally to the point of attack. We attempt to keep an encouraging word in every issue, but dare not neglect the hot points in the good fight of faith.
This periodical is committed to presenting the "unsearchable riches of Christ" in an attitude of loving concern. Countless souls are at stake. We will "press the battle ere the night will veil the glowing skies." All our strength will be hurled against the enemy.
"If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psa 11:3).
They can rise and cast the enemies of truth and virtuousness into the sea. So help us God!