L. Nelson Bell: What Happened?

L. Nelson Bell: What Happened?

“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way”Matthew 13:25, NKJV

The destructive critical view of the Bible has become so widespread—and is so generally taught and believed in church-related institutions—that the average student graduating from these schools has had his faith in the full inspiration of Scripture either greatly impaired or completely destroyed. 

It is safe to say that Satan’s greatest victory began when he implanted doubt in the minds of Adam and Eve as to the truthfulness of God’s Word—“Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1, KJV)—and he continues his work today in the classroom of Dr. I. Doubt-it, through the writings of Professor W.E. Knowbetter, and from the pulpit of Dr. Will Knott Believe.

Certainly, the majority of Christian leaders believe most of the great doctrines of the church, but an increasing number hold impaired views with reference to truths that are a part of the Christian faith and without which all teaching and preaching is lacking in transforming power. 

Questioned are doctrines related to the reality of sin, eternal punishment, the personality of Satan and the efficacy of prayer. Some say the God of the Old Testament is not the same God found in the New Testament. Many who affirm belief in the deity of our Lord also question His virgin birth, the reality of His miracles, His vicarious atonement for our sins on Calvary, His bodily resurrection and the reality of His eventual return in power. True, few would question or deny all of these doctrines, but many have doubts about one or more of them—although all are clearly taught in God’s Word and are a part of most evangelical creeds.

We ask where this unbelief has come from and why it is so widespread. Protestant Christendom has been asleep, and during our sleep the enemy of souls, under the guise of scholarship and advanced knowledge, has sown the seeds of doubt. 

Tolerance—tolerance to error—has been the watchword. As an illustration: a prominent clergyman recently affirmed his acceptance of the “theological implications” of the virgin birth, but questioned “the biological fact.” 

Another, decrying the preaching of the necessity of the new birth, stated categorically, “I am not a sinner.”

We have the conviction that when laymen in the U.S. become aware of the unbelief that is being taught in many church-related institutions under the guise of scholarship—particularly the blatant denial of great portions of the Bible and of doctrines clearly stated therein—they will, in increasing numbers, rise up and ask for an accounting of stewardship.

What can we do? We can and must pray for a Heaven-sent revival of faith in God and in His Word. Although many will deny it, they go together.  ©2024 East Gates International

L. Nelson Bell (1894-1973) was the father of the late Ruth Bell Graham. This article was adapted from While Men Slept: A Concerned Layman’s View of the Church Today (Doubleday 1970), with permission of East Gates International, EastGates.org. 

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