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This Sunday in Baptist History

October 2

On this day (October 2) 93 years ago, the Canadian Baptist contained an editorial entitled, “The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture.” It reads, “Some fifteen or twenty years ago the question of the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures agitated the evangelical churches of Great Britain a great deal more than it does today. This agitation has now largely ceased in the old land because the leading men, in whom these churches had large confidence, have brought themselves and their people into clearer light. Occasional echoes of the old acrimonious disputations are still heard there, but in the main they have ceased to interest or influence intelligent Christian people….. on this continent a considerable number of Christian people, including a fair proportion of ministers, are still threshing away at many questions touching the Scriptures, which are regarded as settled questions in Great Britain. To some extent this is true among churches in Canada, and it is especially true in the United States, where some crude theological views still prevail in many quarters, in which some partially educated, but very dogmatic preachers, are still making loud proclamations of views and theories as to the Scriptures, which were laid aside years ago in England and Scotland…. Any of our readers, who are still perplexed as to the disputations that occasionally prevail in our midst, touching the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures, will be greatly helped by the recital of the story of how light and relief came to Christian people in the old land.”

Dr. T. T. Shields, of Toronto, immediately challenged the editorial, declaring that it was “… an attack on the Word of God.” He determined that he would confront this heresy at the next meeting of the Canadian Baptist convention, which was scheduled for October 24, 1919. After much prayer, and the betrayal of some of his “friends,” Shields arose, asking for permission to speak. For the next hour and a half he preached, declaring his belief that the Authorized Version (the KJV) of the Bible was the Word of God, and that any and all modern, corrupt versions should be condemned. He asked the Convention to declare its disapproval of the editorial of October 2. The vast congregation erupted in applause, and his resolution was seconded and approved.

That battle was temporarily won, but the Devil has not surrendered, and today it is harder and harder to find churches which have not fallen for his lie that scholarship supercedes the revelation of God.

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