By Harry Ironside
IN closing this review of the system of teaching which we have had before us, I do not think it necessary to go into the questions at any length of Soul-sleeping and Annihilation (conditional immortality), or the opposite view of the final restoration of Universalism. As already mentioned, the followers of the late Dr. E. W. Bullinger have largely taken up with the first type of teaching in Great Britain; whereas in America many of them have supported Universalist views. But these heretical teachings have been so ably answered on many different occasions by other writers, that it would seem like a work of supererogation to go into them now. I only mention them, in fact, as a warning to those who are dabbling with this system, for that which looks so innocent in the beginning often ends up in complete departure from "the faith once delivered to the saints."
One who was a leading advocate of Bullingerism on the west coast for many years, has put out literature recently which denies the Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true personality of the Holy Spirit, and many other important truths. In order to support his restoration system, he has put out a private translation of the New Testament which, by his disciples, is generally accepted as absolute authority. Making no pretence to scholarship myself, but simply seeking to be a reverent student of the English Bible with whatever help I have been enabled to glean throughout more than forty years of studying the Word, I hesitated to pronounce upon many of the peculiar translations in this new New Testament, but several years ago it was my privilege to spend some time in company with the late Dr. A. T. Robertson, undoubtedly the foremost Greek scholar in America, and possibly without a peer elsewhere. I asked him if he had ever examined the Version in question. With a look of disgust, he said, "I certainly did. The editor had the impertinence to send me a copy, and asked me to commend his ignorance to others."
I said, "Doctor, would you give me in a few words your real estimate of this work, and give me the privilege of quoting you as occasion may arise?"
He replied, "I can give it to you in two words, Piffle and Puffle, and you may tell any one that that is my estimate of this vaunted translation."
In giving publicity to this conversation, my desire is to warn those who are carried away by great pretence to learning, who may not themselves be familiar with the original languages in which the Bible was written, and are therefore easily impressed by a parade of assumed scholarship.
Generally speaking, I have sought to avoid personalities in this discussion. Many otherwise excellent men have taken up these new views. I have no quarrel with men. I do not desire to reflect upon or belittle any of them. It is the Truth of God that is in question, and my appeal is therefore to the Word itself.
Singularly enough, since these papers began running serially, I have received abusive letters from a number of different teachers accusing me of attacking them. One such writes that he is neither a Bullingerite nor an ultra-dispensationalist, and resents being so designated. Each one must draw his own conclusions as to whether he holds the views I have endeavored to refute. "I speak as unto wise men. judge ye what I say."
In bringing these papers to a close, I would urge interested readers to remember the exhortation of the apostle, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."