The tyranny of the scribes and the rebellion of the saints
A little more Tozer.
The error of textualism is not doctrinal. It is more subtle than that and much more difficult to discover, but its effects are just as deadly. Not its theological beliefs are at fault, but its assumptions.
It assumes, for instance, that if we have the word for a thing we have the thing itself. If it is in the Bible, is is in us. If we have the doctrine, we have the experience. If something was true of Paul it is of necessity true of us because we accept Paul’s epistles as divinely inspired. The Bible tells us how to be saved, but textualism goes on to make it tell us that we are saved, something which in the very nature of things it cannot do. Assurance of individual salvation is thus no more than a logical conclusion drawn from doctrinal premises, and the resultant experience wholly mental.
Then came the revolt. The human mind can endure textualism just so long before it seeks a way of escape. So, quietly and quite unaware that any revolt was taking place, the masses of Fundamentalism reacted, not from the teaching of the Bible but from the mental tyranny of the scribes. With the recklessness of drowning men they fought their way up for air and struck out blindly for greater freedom of thought and for the emotional satisfaction their natures demanded and their teachers denied them.
The result over the last 20 years has been religious debauch hardly equaled since Israel worshipped the golden calf. Of us Bible Christians it may truthfully be said that we “sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” The separating line between the Church and the world as been all but obliterated.
Aside from a few of the grosser sins, the sins of the unregenereated wolrd are now approved by a shocking number of professedly “born-again” Christians, and copied eagerly. Young Christians take as their models the rankest kind of worldlings and try to be as much like them as possible. Religious leaders have adopted the techniques of the advertisters; boasting, baiting and shameless exaggerating are now carried on as normal procedure in church work. The moral climate is not that of the New Testament, but that of Hollywood and Broadway.
Many evangelicals no longer initiate; they imitate, and the world is their model. The holy faith of our fathers has in many places been made a form of entertainment, and the appalling thing is that all of this has been fed down to the masses from the top.