Copy of Personal Letter.
Maurice Lloyd's further comments on the writings of John Cheetham. The Bible is the only authority. Comments concerning the writings contained in Open Forum and This I Believe
I have received your letter of the 14th November, which I assume does not call for a reply from me. It only emphasises the communication problem between us, as your use of the words 'hurt', 'restraint', 'generous', 'humble' and 'superb' seems to me entirely inappropriate to the situation -- you must have a different understanding of their meaning from mine. However, I am now writing in response to your further letter re Cheetham.
I could not share your concern to authenticate a man's doctrinal stance or theological status before considering his statements or teaching. What a man says is not to be judged by his standing; the man should be assessed by what he says or writes, and I hope that is how I and what I write is judged. So I can appreciate why Cheetham is not allowing himself to be tied to the kind of creedal position you wish to place him in.
HOWEVER, it is not likely that I know any more about him than you do. He was introduced to Dan Anderson in TIB-21 and 86. He was commended by Greenhow in his first article in Open Forum No.37 and he wrote a full article in Open Forum No.42.
In this article he advocates three Passovers (not four as some do) in the ministry of Christ on earth -- which is correct. He makes some doubtful statements about the use of sabbatwn and he proposed the synagogue declaration of Christ to have been at Pentecost (when He would have been in Jerusalem not Nazareth). Cheetham also quite rightly said, a Jubilee followed the sabbatical year of John the Baptist's ministry in 27ad --- extended into 28bc. But this correct statement was made by default, as it is not compatible with the other remarks in the article.
I wrote to him about these discrepancies in September 1989 and got a friendly reply. But he was not amenable to accept correction. He seemed to stress context which is of course important) but to deprecate verbal accuracy which is even more important). I gained the impression that he was in the business of making money by means of selling cassettes as well as books. I got no reply to my second letter, perhaps because I did not wish to buy a cassette from someone unwilling to express himself by letter; or it may be that he did not regard me as his 'peer'.
I observe the telling comment in his letter to you -- 'even the Bible is secondary to the achievement', this is a danger signal. We know nothing about the Truth of God or His purpose in and through Christ, except as revealed by The Holy Spirit, Who to-day speaks to us only through the inspired words of Scripture (this is not intended to imply that some words are not).
With reference to this theme I recommend the reading of 'the importance of accuracy' in Selected Writings by Bullinger. He refers to two classes, viz: 1. Those who put the Bible above everything, and 2. Those who put something above the Bible. He is actually quoting from Goussen's 'The Opreustia' page 300.
Beware also of those to whom the Bible is 'the ultimate authority' (as Open Forum), rather than the one and only authority. It implies that other authorities exist. Allied to this is the subtle idea of seeking 'biblical support' (as Dan Andersen in TIB No.25 and 26 for his ideas / thoughts / proposals).
The presentation of revealed Truth on the authority of Scripture is by exposition and by exegesis; it can and should be positively asserted.
The putting out of theological ideas, which are no more than human opinions calls for the more subtle tentative approach (which D.A. advocates) and hopefully some pieces of Scripture can be made to give support -- but in any case the writings of others, as supposed authorities, can be enlisted.
I hope you can clearly see the difference between these two quite different approaches. I discern that Dan Andersen has moved into the latter position; and his ?????? of there who make definite assertions has in mind Otis Sellers, who to his credit always so set forth his teaching. His method was right; even if, like all of us, he sometimes made a mistake.
I have now cancelled my subscription to both This I Believe and Open Forum. I may sometime write something contra The End of Israel According to Flesh, but until I can include something positive I shall not make regaling comments.
Of course, you have a problem now as to the cassettes of Cheetham, but I do not think you are justified in debarring them from adults wishing to hear them -- the judgement should be theirs not yours.
This is all I can say, though it may not help much.
Yours sincerely Maurice Lloyd 25th November 1993
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