IS IT THE TRUTH
Jack L. Holt
Campaigns are being waged all about us nowadays for truth in lending and truth in packaging. One civic organization has put out thousands of bumper stickers with the simple question, "Is it the truth?" The credibility gap is deplored.
The truth is not always easy to come by. It takes effort to verify your information. It's always easier to pass along to others what you read or hear without taking the time and effort to check it out. A good reporter never assumes a report or article is true. He takes time to check it our. If this course were followed by all writers, a number of half truths, slanted articles and unconfirmed reports would never see the light of print.
A case in point is an article now making the rounds of the bulletins. The article is credited to Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Co., in Baltimore, Maryland. The article tells about some computer men in our space program feeding information into a computer so they could tell where the stars would be years from now. Then if they sent up a satellite they would avoid a space crash. Well, in the process they found a day missing in "elapsed time." They went almost berserk trying to figure out until some "religious fellow" told them about Joshua's long day.
Well sir, they fed this information into the computer and they found that Joshua's statement, "About a whole day," meant exactly 23 hours and 20 minutes. What they fed this machine to get the definite figure on about," I don't know. But anyway they came up forty minutes shore in the day missing. This same "religious fellow," then recalled the sundial going backwards ten degrees for Hezekiah. Ten degrees is 40 minutes, and this fit in with "about," to make one day exactly. The computer then spit out the information fed it and confirmed Joshua's story of the long day. When I first read Hill's story it rang a bell. I'd heard it before. I walked over to a bookshelf and pulled out Rimmer's book, "The Harmony of Science and Scripture." In the chapter, "Modern Science And The Long Day of Joshua," you'll find the same story, even to the degrees on the sundial (Pgs. 280-283). Hill's article updates Rimmer's story to fit the computer age.
After reading Hill's article I decided to check it out. There were a number of things I wanted to know. For example, how could they know a day was missing in time without knowing when time began? How old is time? This information would solve some problems in Bible chronology. Also I'd like to know how they could be so exact about the expression "about a whole day." I need to know how to define "about" so when my wife tells me a new dress will cost "about" so much I'll immediately know the exact price. Or when a woman tells you she'll be ready in "about 15 minutes," you can know that "about" is two or three hours give or take a few minutes.
Anyway, I wrote Hill % Curtis Engine Company, Baltimore, Maryland. My letter came back with the post office notation, "There is no such company in Baltimore." I then wrote "The Evening World," a newspaper in Spencer, Indiana, where the article first (?) appeared asking for information about it. I haven['s received a reply. The whole thing began to look real fishy. Now I admit in times past I've been real gullible. I believed George Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac. They cherry tree story still thrills me. And I won't tell you haw old I was when I learned Santa really isn't. I'll just say my children broke the news to me. This modern generation learns fast! I've fallen for more lines that a rich old maid, but this story didn't move me one bit.
All of this reminds me of some checking I did years ago when the New Testament of the Revised Standard Version, was published. Many preachers were hurling fire and brimstone at the "New Version," and rightly so in some respects. I thought I should join the crowd and "smite them hip and thigh." I began looking for information on the Version. One day I saw and bought a copy of Dan Gilbert's debate with a Professor Stevenson(?). It bore the title, "The Debate Over the New Bible."
The book represented Stevenson as one of the translators on the Revised Standard Version committee. In the book, Stevenson blatantly denied the Virgin Birth, blood atonement and many other fundamental truths of the Scriptures. Gilbert valiantly defended the truth and showed Stevenson was typical of the translators and thus shut up the whole group as perverters and rank modernists bent on destroying the Scriptures. Well, I was looking for information and here it was -- if it were true!
However, before I used the book I thought I'd better check and see if the other translators went along with Stevenson. I wrote Goodspeed, Cadbury, Weigle and others. They answered my letters and to my surprise told me they'd never heard of Professor Stevenson; that he didn't serve on the committee for the Revised Standard Version, and some said they didn't believe as Stevenson whoever and wherever he was.
Goodspeed was rather whimsical in part of his reply. He said, in effect (I'm writing this away from the book as well as the letters so I can't be exact) "I know nothing about Professor Stevenson. I've tried to find him and can't. I've tries to call Gilbert at his home, but his wife always answers the phone and tells me she doesn't know where he is, except he's away preaching to prisoners. If you can help us find Stevenson we'd be grateful. Mr. Gilbert is in danger of Rev. 21:27, "Whosoever . . . maketh a lie."
That checking sure cost me some preaching, but it saved me from misrepresentation. The word of God, or His cause doesn't need make up yarns, slanted truths, misrepresentations, nor straw men to fight to establish its superior morality or its truthfulness.
These facts about Hill's article should serve a good purpose. It ought to teach us to verify our information before we print it. Then we can tell it like it is, not like we might wish it to be. Brethren it doesn't take too long to "prove all things." This might cost us some two-bit preaching material, but it'll save us from misrepresentation and half truths.
And should many brethren have checked before they printed made up articles based on half-truths they would have looked in Webster's New World Dictionary, College Edition (the latest) and seen the word "gee" has a legitimate usage and is defined as "an exclamation of surprise," but you'll never see this in some bulletins. Very few will present all the facts. They don't want the facts to get in the way of their preaching.
It would do all of us good before be print and article to ask, "Is it the truth?" And since we bear the name of Christ we should want the truth' ALL of the truth, and nothing but the truth."
So concerning Hill's story just call me "Thomas," until someone shows me the "nailprints in its hands."