Reply to a Pastor Inquiring About My Research Practices

March 29, 2010 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -

Recently I received the following e-mail:

“First of all, let me say: ‘Thank you,’ for the many informative articles I receive through FBNS However, upon the retraction of the article concerning Sister Gail Riplinger, I feel I must ask: Have you not read the book you commented on yourself? If not, do you make this a common practice, to speak on books you yourself have not read? I ask, as the Bible command is to: ‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.’ Again, I appreciate your work, but would also really appreciate the clarification, as this doesn't seem to be a righteous practice if it be the case.”

REPLY FROM BROTHER CLOUD

Hello:

Thank you for taking the time to write and express that question. If you had read my books and watched our DVD presentations, you would know that they are extensively documented from first-and research, but I understand that not everyone has done this, and your question is a reasonable one in light of my recent mistake in regard to Riplinger's book. 

As to your question, did I not read the book. The answer in this case is no, but that is unusual. In fact, I thought I had one of the chapters in hand. It was a wrong assumption as it turns out, but under the circumstances I don't think it was an unreasonable one. 

As for your question, do I make this a common practice, the answer is an emphatic no. While no man can check every fact at its source, my writings are based on careful research and often on primary documentation. I don't know any fundamental Baptist preacher that is as diligent at that as I am, and hundreds of men have personally thanked me for it, because it provides dependable material for their ministries. 

I have built a personal library of 6,000 volumes to back up my writing and each year I spend time in firsthand research at libraries, conferences, museums, and such.

On the subject of the Bible Version issue, for example, I have built a personal library containing most of the books dealing with texts and versions and the history of the Bible going back 200 and more years, have read hundreds of books and booklets, have corresponded with and interviewed about 200 defenders of the KJV and the TR, and have researched the subject firsthand in museums and sites (such as those pertaining to the life of Wycliffe and Tyndale) throughout Great Britain and Europe. I have spent weeks at the British Library, Cambridge, Oxford, and other significant libraries. I have personally examined two of the extant Waldensian New Testaments, at Cambridge University and at Trinity College Dublin. That is just part of the research on one subject.

When I wrote a book on the Emerging Church I read 60 of their books and attended their largest conference with press credentials and personally interviewed some of their leaders.

On the subject of Pentecostalism, I have visited the major sites pertaining to its history, have collected a large library of hundreds of volumes and read probably 200 of those books, have visited influential Pentecostal churches for firsthand research.

When I published a commentary and study on Revelation, I collected about 100 dispensational commentaries, including many out-of-print ones, and visited the sites of the seven churches in Turkey. 

This the level of research that I try to bring to every subject that I deal with.

At the same time, I am a church planting missionary in Nepal.

I have never claimed to be a perfect scholar. As you surely know, of course, there is no such thing, and the Riplinger matter is certainly not the first time I have made a mistake. But I have an earnest desire before God to defend the truth in this evil hour and to do it in a Christ-honoring way. 

As a young missionary in South Asia in the early 1980s I witnessed firsthand how widespread the apostasy and compromise is and through personal encounters with New Evangelicals, Charismatics, Theological Modernists, Liberation Theologians, and such I realized that I had to have my facts right if I was going to refute error effectively. It was then that I began to do serious research using primary documents. 

I assume you are a pastor, since you gave your church's name. Let me as you, in closing, do you
ever quote from or refer to books without reading them? 

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” is one of my life verses and one of the verses foundational to Way of Life Literature.

 In Christ, Brother Cloud