But by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2b)
Like many of you, I am deeply grateful for the free and easily accessible resources of Desiring God and other like-minded ministries. I frequently use these resources and by them grow in my affections for God and knowledge of the Word.
I am particularly grateful for this free and easy access when I come across websites and other information sources whose resources are neither free nor easily accessible.
But it is deeper than mere convenience. There are important discussions about the Bible happening in closed venues—discussions that influence the future leaders of the church.
I have a particular interest in disability and the Bible. I’ve read as broadly as I can on this subject. Because I teach at a local college, they provide me online access to thousands of academic resources that are not otherwise free or easily available. There is amazing diversity in the discussion going on in these closed venues. Some of the discussion is encouraging and worthy of recommendation, but a person has to be affiliated with a college to have access!
On the other hand, there are discussions in these closed venues that are deeply discouraging, and need to be brought into the light of day. Arguments against the Bible that minimize or attempt to rewrite the orthodox understanding of God’s word are more frequent than one would imagine.
These arguments are happening almost entirely behind closed doors in journals and at conferences that most people will never be able to access. But while their venues are closed, their influence is pervasive among people who are preparing the next generation of leaders in our universities, seminaries, and churches.
It makes sense to me that so many churches and denominations have lost their moorings from and affections for God’s word—their leaders were taught the example of suspicion, not faith.
For example, I was finally able to track down The Journal of Religion, Disability and Health at a local seminary (paying the $100+ subscription fee myself simply wasn’t an option!). One of the first articles I read made extraordinary, unbiblical assertions about God’s word and character. I later found a young pastor on YouTube expressing the exact same theological argument. He had clearly been influenced by this journal’s line of argument, which had the appearance of legitimate biblical scholarship.
This simply should not happen. Unsound arguments need to be challenged. Good argumentation needs to be encouraged. But this will not happen when a high subscription fee prevents easy access.
Now, I understand there is an economic component to all of this. Desiring God materials are freely available because God has guided people to help underwrite the costs through their donations. A niche academic journal isn’t going to have that kind of opportunity for financial underwriting.
But there must be options, such as releasing content for free access after a period of time. This would allow outsiders to see and engage these kinds of arguments.
And for those who profoundly disagree with us, come and engage us. Read, listen to, or watch our resources. In return, we ask that you open up your journals, provide free online access to your conference messages (even if it is a year later), and let us see what and how you are thinking.
Ultimately, our thinking should be for the glory of God. As Pastor John writes in his latest book, Think, “The aim of this book is to encourage serious, faithful, humble thinking that leads to the true knowledge of God, which leads to loving him, which overflows in loving others" (154).
Come, let us think together. And may Jesus become all the more treasured because of it.