I am sorry to have to write this but it has become necessary.
Late last year Bro. Doug Stauffer, who has been a friend and fellow defender of the King James Bible for several years, asked me if I would review a few chapters, not the whole book, of his upcoming new edition of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, in view of recommending it. I have always made it a practice of not writing recommendations for various, valid reasons. But, Doug was a friend, a defender of the Book and his book was a known quantity so I figured I could squeeze in the time to do it. (I never thought about it at the time but you can’t recommend a book from reading a few chapters because the recommendation will be applied to the whole work, not solely the chapter you read.) I never read the new book. (Still haven’t.)
I assumed the new edition was just material added to the original book. For example, I just added 50 pages of information showing the flaws in the English Standard Version and the Modern English Version to the 4th edition of An Understandable History of the Bible. Nothing else in the book changed and I haven’t changed what I believe about the King James Bible being the absolute, perfect word of God. I simply added new material to an unchanged book.
I did not know, nor did anyone else, that Bro. Stauffer had changed what he believed about Bible interpretation and that the new book was a major departure from the position he took in the first edition. Actually, the new book is a revision rather than an edition, in which he takes new positions that differ from those of the first book. In numerous communications Bro. Stauffer never told me he had changed his position.
When I reviewed his chapters I didn’t see his major changes. (My bad.) What I remember the most is a statement that basically stated, “The Old Testament isn’t written to us and we use it inspirationally, why not Hebrews-Jude?” (Mind you, this is not a direct quote but just as I remember it)
Shortly after the book was published I began receiving input from trusted folks who read the book and discovered the new direction Bro. Stauffer had taken. To be honest, I don’t really care what people say when they gossip about me. I’m not “thrilled” if it’s positive or “crushed” if it’s negative. I don’t see myself as that important in the Divine scheme of things. The fact of the matter is, some Bible believers just needed an excuse to bash me, their pretended indignation about my recommendation is just a tactic to hide their lack of Christian growth. I even wrote one self- important brother an explanation of my error in recommending Bro. Stauffer’s book but, since he was desperate to find a reason to bash me he actually used my letter to further “expose” what a wretched Christian I am. (Oh well, try to change a dirty diaper & you can’t help getting your hands soiled.)
On May 7, 2019, I emailed Bro. Stauffer and simply told him I was rescinding my recommendation and asked that he omit it from the next printing. I didn’t rail on him for being an “apostate” and a deceiver, I simply told him I didn’t agree with his new position. I never received a reply. After about a month I sent another email with the same request and again received no reply.
In fact, the email bounced back as “Undeliverable.”
Then, I was contacted by a good friend, Pastor Kyle Stephens, who pastors in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We publish a book for Kyle. He is a good friend and actually has the Christian grace to objectively investigate an issue. He has no vendetta against me or Bro. Stauffer. He suggested this clarification which, although a good idea, had simply never occurred to me.
The Bible instructs me to live peaceably with all men, as much as in me is. I do not consider anyone who believes something differently than I do a heretic. If you do…grow up! If Bro. Stauffer wants to change what he believes about future events, of which no one can be absolutely sure, that’s his business. I wouldn’t even find it necessary to break fellowship with him as long as he didn’t berate me with his new-found “truth” every time we talked. My problem is his deception.
Bro. Stauffer knew he was keeping his new position secret from me when he contacted me and that he was manipulating our friendship for his personal gain in an improper manner. I recently spoke with a pastor whom he also deceived who told me that Stauffer, in defending his knew position, told him, “Sam Gipp’s on my side.” Now that ticks me off!
Before writing this clarification I sent Bro. Stauffer a text rather than an email, with a third request to delete my recommendation and another request to acknowledge the receipt of my message. Over a week has gone went by with no response. Finally, on the advice of my pastor, Dr. Rick DeMichele, I called him. No answer. I left a voice mail again instructing him to delete my recommendation and asking him to call me.
The next day I got a long email stating and defending his new position and saying he would call me. It’s been two days. No phone call yet. I don’t feel obligated to anymore chances for an explanation. (Could I safety believe it?)
For the Record
I have not changed my position on dispensational teaching of the Bible. I do not recommend Bro. Stauffer’s book nor any new doctrinal positions he takes in it. I do not espouse Bro. Stauffer’s new position.
A Closing Word
If Christians are good at anything it is taking themselves too seriously. I have often said that the “Unpardonable Sin” and the “Sin unto Death” is to disagree with me. No, not Sam Gipp, but it is the graceless position that seems to be practiced by any Christian on a fellow Christian they dislike if they can just find something to make it look like a biblical or spiritual problem rather than a cheap, shallow personal one.
Get this straight! ALL “teaching” on future events is nothing more than the opinion of the teacher. He may be a Bible believer. He may be very intelligent. He may know a great deal about the Bible. He may even run a Bible college. But it’s still just his unsanctified opinion. Want some examples?
- I heard from a very reliable Bible believer way back in 1970 that the United States would fall to the Communists by July 4, 1976. I was assured that no country had made it passed 200 years of history so we were doomed. (Right!)
- Then there were the two great “The-Sky-is-Falling” events that a great many Christians declared as inevitable future events:
A. The natural catastrophes that were going to happen when the planets all aligned in 1982,
B. And, of course, the great “Y2K” debacle that never happened.
- Then a guy had 88 reasons why the Lord was going to return in 1988. (Sure thing.)
- But this couldn’t be correct because a great Bible believer assured us it would actually happen in 1989… “if our calendar is correct.” If the calendar wasn’t correct it would have to be 1993. (Seems it wasn’t the calendar that was incorrect.)
- Then there was the collapse that would happen on 9-9-99. (Yep.)
- Let’s not forget the “End-of-life-as-we-know-it” in 2012 because of the calendar of those great “Bible believers,” the Mayans.
What I am saying is that NO ONE can be sure they are absolutely correct on what they teach about future events. Anyone who claims they are “absolutely correct” (go ahead, ask them) is full of pride, and we all know what Job 41:34 says about that! If you break fellowship with someone because you have differing opinions of what will happen in the future (Yes, I still believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture, scriptural 7 year tribulation, Battle of Armageddon and millennial reign of Christ) you are shallow and immature. Think you have a handle on future events? Good, tell me what happens during the “Seven Thunders” mentioned in Revelation 10:4!
If you can’t allow a little grace on what NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE (see above) I pity your friends!
Oh, and for future reference, let no one ever contact me and ask for any kind of recommendation.