Monday, January 23, 2017

The vanishing Word. . . .

Let me begin by saying that I laud the work of Gideons, even if the Gideons themselves make me a little nervous.  The Gideons tend to be drawn from those Christian groups that believe in decision theology, that faith begins with the Sinners Prayer, and the primary quality of Scripture is its inerrancy (but not its efficacy).  So I am not one to beat a drum for the Gideons even though I believe that their goal of distribution of Scripture is a good one.

For as long as I can remember I have opened the drawer (usually to the night stand by the bed) in a hotel or motel room to see if a Gideon Bible is there.  In the past I seldom found the Bible missing.  Now, it seems, I should be ready to expect no Gideon Bible.  A story in the Washington Post has supported the vanishing Gideon Bible.

A survey conducted by the American Hotel and Lodging Association and hotel research firm STR found that 79% of American hotel rooms included religious material in rooms, compared with almost all of them—95%—a decade ago.  For many travelers these days, rooms with no Wi-Fi access would be unthinkable. Nearly all—98%–of the 8,000 respondents in the survey said their properties had in-room wireless internet, up from 82% a decade ago.

Read back to a previous post on how the internet has replaced God in our lives.  According to the trend reported by the AHLA, we are more upset by a lack of WiFi than we are a missing Bible.  That is not merely a fact, it is a sign of the problems we face and the investment we have made in truths over Truth.  Sadly, even if a Gideon Bible were placed again in every hotel or motel room, it would not reverse the trend of trusting the world wide web over the Word of the Lord that endures forever.

My friends remind me that their Bible is on their phones and even Concordia Publishing House has Kindle and other app forms of the very good Lutheran Study Bible.  That said, I think there is still something significant about the missing book.  I rather doubt that the absent Scripture is replaced by those who turn to their WiFi in room in order to search the internet for a Bible passage.  But, go ahead, prove me wrong.  I would love it!


John Joseph Flanagan said...

When I travel and stay at a hotel, I carry my own NKJV Bible. But it is comforting to find a Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer anyway. I also agree that the churches which teach "decisional regeneration" and the sinners prayer as instant salvation sometimes overlooking the verse John 6:44, when Our Lord Jesus said, "No one can come to me except the Father who has sent me draw them." This verse alone should convince any Baptist or follower of "decisional" theology that even when you have made such a choice to come to Jesus, it is because God has first drawn you, and to Him alone belongs the glory. Nevertheless, it is so wonderful that long ago some men got together and started the Gideon's, and this ministry has been used mightily to offer the Gospel to millions. We cannot begin to know how many people read God's word in a hotel room and were changed forever by the power of God.

Ted Badje said...

The Gideon's is a worthy ministry.

jwskud said...

I must (partially) disagree. Having God's Word in any location is a plus, and if the Gideons would simply place Bibles in rooms, their ministry would be 100% worthy. But by tacking a "commitment"/decision statement to the Bible, which is born of (the false doctrine of) decision theology, they taint what would otherwise be a worthy ministry. They rob God of His Glory and man of his assurance.

That being said, I don't know if ALL Gideon-issued Bibles include this commitment/decision statement, but the ones I've seen do.

There is no small amount of scriptural evidence for Divine Monergism. Do these people even read the Bible??

Apostle’s Creed, 3rd article: in faith and in conversion, as in creation (1st) and salvation (2nd), all glory must be given to God alone!

Gen 8:21
Ex 33:19
Ps 53:2-3
Is 55:10-11
Ezek 36:25-27 (baptism, too)
Mt 11:27
Mk 9:24
Jn 1:13
Jn 6:44, 63-65 (flesh profits nothing)
Jn 3:6 and 15:5, 16
Acts 1:7 (we don’t know when conversion will occur), 13:48, 16:14, 18:27
Rom 3:28, 8:7, 28-30, 9:16, 10:17 (faith comes from hearing)
1 Cor 1:30, 2:8-14, 12:3 (no one can say Jesus is Lord except by Holy Spirit)
2 Cor 1:22, 3:5, and 5:5
Gal 4:6 and 5:22 (faith is fruit of spirit)
Eph 1:4-5, 2:5, 8 (1-13 point to Jn 11, Lazarus), 3:14-17, 6:23-24
Phil 1:29
1 Thess 4:8; 2 Thess 2:13-14
2 Tim 1:9
Titus 3:3-8
Hebrews 12:1-2
James 1:18
1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:1
1 Jn 5:1 (regeneration IS faith - Pastor J. Fisk)

Faith = gift: Col 1:3-4 and 2 Thess 1:3 Thanks not given to God for something within the capacity of all men and women, but for those things outside our ability
God alone regenerates and keeps us in faith: Phil 1:6 and 2:13; 1 Peter 1:4-5