I’ve learned that if a person is critical of a organizatoin, a church or an individual because they consider that organization’s or individual’s use a translation of Scripture other than the King James Version heretical, I probably should simply walk away from the argument. We are probably not going to come to a place of agreement. BSF’s written materials (notes and questions) quote and are based on the New International Version of the Bible. This makes sense for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that BSF classes are held (in English) in many places around the world. The NIV uses a more international than American English. This fact causes some to discredit BSF. It angers others.
Over the past week I’ve been reading up on what some of these “others” are blogging about BSF and have to say that my natural inclination moves me to respond to some of the most critical blogging with inappropriate argument. I want to use words like “stupid” and “idiotic” and “illogical” (that last one may be a reasonable point in debate, but I’d be saying it with a tone of voice that implied more of the first two and not so much a valid criticism. This is not helpful. It does not reflect the character of Christ.
I’m not talking about people who prefer a methodology or focus that is more relational than exegetical. I’m not talking about those who think BSF has too much homework or too many rules. I’m talking about people who, from what I can tell, are both opposed to the foundational values held by BSF and, in some cases, who have been personally hurt by someone in the organization. I read one woman’s accusations and it felt to me that she was hurt because she’d been removed from leadership her local class and was now attaching the organization as much out of her own hurt as out of concern for the truth.
I’m not going to discuss these issues in my blog. I’m not going to explain why I’m not only NOT a “King James Only” person, but why I find that stand to be amazingly illogical in a world where nearly 7000 languages are spoken. I’m not going to argue about why I am quite happy that women teach the women’s classes and lead the women’s discussion groups — and that a woman is the Executive Director of the organization. I’m not going to try to defend the appropriateness of an organization requiring its leaders to agree with it’s doctrine and values. So, if you’re looking for that, you won’t find it here.
(Google “Bible Study Fellowship” and you, too, can not only easily find the BSF website with information about where you can find classes near you and more, but you can also find some of what others are saying about this organization that I’ve grown to hold in high regard. Very high regard. If you do the Google thing, let me urge you to ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment before you start reading. Some of what you will read is very negative. I’m not one who is afraid of “bad press” except for the fact that people too easily believe lies. That is the danger. I read these are do not find myself questioning the leadership of the organization or the validity of the system they’ve created. That either means I’d been drinking the kool-aid or I know the truth and can discern the difference between healthy criticism and hateful criticism.)