Inspirational Items for Your Daily Walk with Jesus:

Daily Bible Study and Secret Prayer is the Christian's  Power-link!

 "Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind."

"All who would be efficient workers must give much time to prayer. The communication between God and the soul must be kept open, that the workers may recognize the voice of their Captain."

DAVID DARE

DISSOLVING DOUBTS

By Earle Albert Rowell.

1: THE SCOFFER SCOFFS

GEORGE EMERSON TURNED to his father and pointed an emphatic finger at an advertisement he had just read: Amazement was in his voice: “Read that, Dad.”

The elder Emerson took the paper and read aloud, his tone growing more amusedly cynical as he followed the item:

“INFIDELITY CHALLENGED AND REFUTED.

“An unusual lecture by David Dare, a converted infidel. All sceptics, scoffers, unbelievers, infidels — all classes of doubters — are especially invited to hear this important address. They may interrupt the speaker at any time during his lecture with questions or with denials of his statements. If you are a free-thinker, an agnostic, a heretic, or an atheist, COME! THIS MEETING IS ESPECIALLY FOR YOU.”

The father laid the paper down, contempt in his manner. “This fellow certainly takes in a lot of territory.”

“Well, he includes you, Dad! Here is your opportunity,” said George gleefully. “You are always asking Christians, and particularly ministers, all kinds of hard questions that they can’t answer. Let’s go and hear this man. I have some questions I’d like to ask him, too.”

George’s questions, however, were hazy, and born of the desire to see his father in action.

“It isn’t likely he’d welcome my questions, George,” smiled the father confidently, with slight emphasis on “my.”

“But the invitation is especially to sceptics, who are urged to come with their questions,” argued the son eagerly.

“Yes, I know — a very fine gesture it is, too,” admitted Henry Emerson.

“You don’t believe he means it? You think it a trick to get a crowd?”

“Something like that. I never heard of such a meeting. If he lives up to the terms of his advertisement, the meeting will run away with him.”

”Let’s go and see for ourselves,” urged George. “You might be surprised.”

“Of course we’ll go,” assented his father, “since you are so anxious. No doubt the place will be packed.”

Mr. Emerson himself was in reality eager to attend, but hid his longing under an apparently reluctant consent to accompany his son.

George was wide-awake, questioning young man of twenty who had been reared in an atmosphere of religious doubt. His father was a large, rather dogmatic man of average education, with a keen mind turned slightly cynical.

While they were discussing the strange announcement, Mrs. Emerson and her daughter, Lucile, entered.

“Another religious argument,” Lucile laughed, her quick eye taking in the slightly belligerent attitude of her father.

“Wrong guess, sis,” George assured her. “Just the prelude to one that promises to be a wholesale affair.”

“A wholesale religious argument!” exclaimed Lucile in puzzled amazement. “What in the world do you mean?”

“Fellow here in the paper, a converted infidel, advertises to take on all comers — at the same time,” explained George, with twinkling eyes.

Lucile read the advertisement with increasing astonishment to the end.

“Hm-m! A large order. He can’t do it! Must be a religious mountebank,” she decided.

“No, for the meetings are sponsored by substantial, conservative citizens whose names are appended farther on — see,” said George, pointing them out.

Lucile cast a roguish eye at her father, but addressed her brother. “I see dad is going to be as happy as any well-trained iconoclast could possibly be.”

“It’s tonight. Will you go?” George spoke eagerly, as he drew his sister to one side.

“Is dad going?”

“Yes.”

“Then try to keep me away. I see where dad is riding for a fall!”

“Do you think so?” exclaimed George.

“Do I think so?” she mimicked. “I am sure of it. Do you think any man would dare to insert such an advertisement, sponsored by these people, unless he knew his — his —”

“Bible,” George hastened to add, as they dashed off to get ready.

Though the Emerson family arrived fifteen minutes early it was with difficulty they found seats in the large auditorium.

“Standing room only, pretty soon,” whispered George to Lucile.

“I am curious to see how they are going to conduct such a strange meeting as this,” remarked Mr. Emerson, settling himself comfortably.

“We won’t have long to wait — there they start for the platform now,” indicated Lucile. “I’m just thrilling with excitement.”

“Why,” exclaimed Mr. Emerson in surprise, “Dr. Morely is chairman of the meeting. David Dare must have an important message to induce the city’s most prominent physician to introduce him.”

Just then Mr. Dare, a man past thirty and above average height, walked briskly but with utter lack of self-consciousness to his place beside Dr. Morely, who engaged him in conversation while the crowd continued to gather.

The chairman called the meeting to order. “A series of lectures on “Infidelity Challenged and Refuted’ will be given here every Sunday afternoon for the next few weeks,” began Dr. Morely crisply. “This above all others is an age of doubt. The speaker, Mr. Dare, was reared in an infidel home. He was once an ardent sceptic. He has invited all classes of doubters here, and freely offers them opportunity to question his statements, even to the extent of interrupting him to propound their questions or denials. This is a serious attempt to aid sceptics in their search for the truth about the Bible. Mr. Dare will now tell you what he proposes to do.”

An electric hush of expectancy swept the large audience as David Dare walked in calm dignity to the front. He stood silent for a few moments, scanning the sea of faces with his candid eyes.

“You are all here under a misapprehension of what I plan to do,” he began.

“I knew it, I knew it,” muttered Mr. Emerson, as low exclamations of amazement swept the audience.

“Aha!” exclaimed Lucile in an undertone, while George sat speechless.

“I am not here to challenge anyone. I do not challenge infidelity or infidels,” he went on calmly. The audience stirred restlessly.

“Nor do I expect to refute infidels or infidelity.” Dare’s clear voice took on firmer tones. It could be heard above the belligerent murmurings that arose everywhere.

“This is a huge joke,” snorted the elder Emerson disgustedly. “We are wasting out time here. Suppose we go.” He half arose.

“Nevertheless, infidels and infidelity will be challenged. Infidelity and infidels will be refuted,” David Dare promised in a clear, ringing voice.

Those who had arisen sat down abruptly. “This sounds interesting,” said Emerson. “Guess I’ll stay.”

The large audience was silent again, leaning eagerly forward to miss nothing. David Dare smiled in understanding of their attitude, sensing fully the shocked amazement, the amused contempt. The jeering mockery changed now to interested expectancy. Stepping calmly to the edge of the platform, he spoke quietly, but in an earnest, impressive manner:

“Yes, doubters will be challenged and scepticism refuted, but not by me. The scoffers of today, the unbelievers in this very audience, were challenged and refuted many hundreds of years ago by One infinitely wiser than I.”

“It will be my part to set before you certain facts. You will be given an opportunity to admit them or deny them if you can. Since every opportunity is granted to question the statements made, since you are freely invited and even urged to interrupt the speaker at any time with inquiries or denials, your silence will be taken as assent to his statements. Is that not fair?”

“Yes, yes, Go on,” responded a number in the audience.

“Your questions and denials must necessarily be confined to the subjects under consideration. These lectures are built up in logical sequence, and if you will attend the entire series, many questions that may be suggested will probably be taken up later.

“I shall assume that we are all doubters, myself included. But we are honest explorers, adventurers together, seeking to learn the truth about this strange, dominating, disturbing Book that has been put into our hands — the Bible. I am merely your captain on this voyage of discovery.

“And mark this: I shall use no material we are not all agreed upon. We will advance together or not at all. If a statement is not accepted by everybody, it will be discarded immediately. We will progress as a unit.

“And further: I warn you that I expect to proceed step by step from infidelity to Christianity. You are invited to find flaws in this process. I am as interested to find them as you are. I am fully as eager to get help from you as to aid you. This is far too serious a matter for me to dare risk remaining in error. I earnestly invite your united help. Look for flaws in my reasoning and fearlessly point them out. If you fail to find any, I assume that you will as fearlessly accept the inevitable conclusion.” Mr. Dare paused a moment for the audience to grasp his plan.

“An amazingly daring undertaking,” exclaimed one.

“Absurd, impossible,” sneered another.

“Fair, indeed, providing he lives up to his promise,” remarked Mr. Emerson.

His sentiment was evidently shared by the majority present. Few, however, were convinced that the man who stood before them really meant what he said.

“All right, we are with you so far. Let’s go,” shouted a stentorian voice from the rear.

David Dare picked up a small, flexible leather book and held it toward the audience in his right hand. “Here is a book called the Bible. Unique claims are made for it. Its warm friends go so far as to maintain that it is the Word of God. Indeed, millions have cheerfully suffered horrible deaths rather than deny this or disregard its teachings. And other millions stand ready this minute to follow their example.

“Now, all of us here are doubters; but a Book for which millions died and are still ready to die certainly ought to be examined. We are willing to investigate. Is this Book open to questioning? Does it invite scrutiny?

“How are we to test a book for which such high claims are made? Where can we best begin? What part is most vulnerable? Does it boast qualities that make it different from any other book in the world?

“Suppose we turn to the Book itself and see. Here I read, ‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Does anyone here disagree with that?”

Mr. Dare paused for reply. There was none.

“Good; we are together so far. ‘Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.’ Isaiah 1:18. Even the most sceptical mind will admit the fairness of this invitation. Note that the reasoning is together. But God gives His reasons first so that we may ‘prove’ them. Does anyone here find fault with that?”

Again Mr. Dare paused for a reply, but no one ventured.

“How are we to assay this volume? Have its writers given us any means by which to verify its statements? Do they especially invite or urge us to try any particular part? Does any portion claim to be impregnable?

“Naturally, if there is any section for which special claims are made, we shall investigate them. We are not now concerned with the statement that it is all the Word of God. We must take some part that we can put into the crucible for the acid test.

“If we, as Peter claims he did, could witness Christ’s great glory, actually hear the voice of God speaking to His Son Jesus, we would consider we had very convincing evidence. However, Peter, telling of this experience (in his second epistle, chapter 1:16-21), adds that there is evidence far more certain than even the audible demonstration of the presence of God. ‘We have also a more sure word of prophecy.’ And he concludes by saying, ‘Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’ “

Mr. Emerson rose quickly, towering to six feet of impressive stature. A number in the audience, evidently interested in Dare’s talk, shouted, “Sit down, sit down; put him out.”

But a rising chorus of voices shouted encouragement: “Go on, speak up, friend.” They were evidently glad that a test of the speaker’s invitation to interrupt was to be made so soon.

David Dare stopped immediately and turned smilingly to the conspicuous figure awaiting recognition. He raised his hand. An expectant silence followed.

“All I ask,” he said calmly, “is that you give your name and make your statement brief and to the point. This applies to all who may speak hereafter. Now I shall be glad to hear you, sir.”

All eyes turned to Mr. Emerson. He seemed to feel his importance as champion of the sceptics’ cause and appeared to stretch up an inch taller. In his manner was a serious dignity.

Lucile leaned over and whispered to George, “Dad is running true to form.” George smiled assent and put his finger to his lips.

“My name is Emerson. My statement will be brief and on the subject. But I doubt that you will be glad to hear me. However, you invited it. I am amazed that a man of your intelligence attempts to palm off on this audience such antiquated and exploded stuff as prophecy. There is no real prophecy. The facts are always twisted to fit the prediction. And if there is real accord, it is purely accidental. Finally, prophecy was usually written after the event and made to fit into it. Anyone can write that kind of prophecy.

“I could easily now write a prophecy of Lindburg’s flight across the Atlantic, date it A.D. 1000, and credit it to some famous scientist of that time. Then, fifteen hundred years from now, when that prediction, presumably written nine hundred years before the event it foretells, is found, a fine case for accurate prophecy could be made out for that scientist.”

“That’s right, that’s right,” commented several voices as Mr. Emerson sat down. “A real poser. Sounds unanswerable.”

All eyes now turned back to David Dare, who stood tranquilly by the stand, ready to answer.

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