September 08, 2003

Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!

Yesterday morning someone posted a message to the Fightin' Fundamentalist Forum concerning a begging letter she had received from an independent fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) missionary organization.

This organization had received an offer from the American Bible society of 40,000 Bibles to distribute in Iraq. Did they receive this gift with gladness? No, they turned it down because - get this - they were 40,000 copies of the New International Version, and the IFB group apparently is one that believes only the King James Version is the "true" Bible, at least in the English language.

So, having refused this handout, the organization was now seeking financial support to buy its own Bibles to distribute.

Had I received such a letter myself, my own response would have been along these lines:

Dear [IFB missionary organization]:

I am in receipt of your letter dated [date], concerning your need for funds to purchase Bibles to send to Iraq.

It seems to me that there could have been a wonderful symbiotic relationship between yourselves and the Bible Society. You have missionaries with an opportunity to distribute the Word of God in a country that was formerly closed to the Gospel; the Bible Society has 40,000 Bibles available to distribute. You receive the Bibles free of charge; the Bible Society gets them distributed free of charge. This is a win-win situation for you, the American Bible Society, and, not least, 40,000 Iraqis who are willing to receive the Scriptures, perhaps being exposed to the Gospel of life for the first time.

But instead of taking advantage of this free gift, probably worth at least $100,000, you reject it. Why? Because you are in bondage to a foolish ideology - based on false history, false theology, and false logic - that says that if it's not the King James, it's not "really" the Bible.

And now, having made this poor decision, you come begging to me and to others, expecting us to pay for what you were offered for nothing. I regret to inform you that I will not be doing that. Organizations such as yours are accountable before God and your supporters for the way you make use of the resources God has provided you. I regard your squandering of this opportunity as poor stewardship.

I urge you to reconsider your choice.

Yours very truly, blah blah blah.

That being said, another thought also occurred to me yesterday: why are so many English Bibles being sent to Iraq? Would the Bible in Arabic not be a better choice?