Call Me a "Biblicist"

by Sheldon Todd Wilson

The editorial by Bob Dasal in the March, 2002, issue contained some badly needed reminders. But I would like to use this opportunity to take a different tack with the questions raised in the first paragraph. Mr. Dasal asks "Why are there so many different groups around calling themselves ‘Christians' with night-and-day differences in their beliefs? With each group claiming to stand for the truth, how do you distinguish what is true from what is false?"

I've spent years wrestling with such questions and concluded that when objective truth no longer matters, and personal desires and subjective experience are of paramount importance, people tend to aggrandize their positions by applying names that don't fit.

The result is what Francis Schaefer called "banner words." These are words that sound good and are calculated to evoke a certain emotional response, but which no longer have any objective content whatever. For the objective content has been removed by years of overuse and misuse. There are dozens of such words today but the most obvious include "science," "Christian," and "art." These words have been completely devalued, as anyone who has discussed art or scientific method knows.

In light of the blurring of the lines due to misuse of the language, I quit calling myself a Christian two years ago. I now call myself a Biblicist in order to prevent any misunderstanding whatsoever. Anyone who does not know what I mean asks, and I gladly tell him that I believe the Bible in all that it purports to teach. This may or may not lead to further discussion, but when it does, it is at the suggestion of the person to whom I'm talking. Hence I'm immediately able to address his concerns from what he already knows will be a biblical perspective. This seems to be, if not the only way, certainly the quickest way to recover our separation and maintain the ability to witness to biblical Christianity. Until the time we are able to wrest the word "Christian" from the clutches of the world, I will remain a "Biblicist."