Harold Lindsell dies at 84; authored 'Battle for the Bible'

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BP)--Harold Lindsell, a former

editor of Christianity Today magazine whose 1976 book, "The

Battle for the Bible," told of a coming upheaval over the

issue of biblical authority, died Jan. 15 at a retirement

village in Laguna Hills, Calif. He was 84.

Lindsell died of flu complications, family members

indicated. He was diagnosed in 1991 with a rare disease of

the nervous system, called polyneuropathy, and had become

wheelchair-bound.

In the preface to the Zondervan-published "Battle for

the Bible," Lindsell wrote, "I regard the subject of this

book, biblical inerrancy, to be the most important

theological topic of this age.

"A great battle rages about it among people called

evangelicals. I did not start the battle and wish it were

not essential to discuss it. The only way to avoid it would

be to remain silent. And silence on this matter would be a

grave sin."

Evangelist Billy Graham, in a letter to Lindsell's

wife, Marion, wrote that Lindsell's "stand on the authority

of Scripture is one of his lasting legacies. His writings

will be used of God for many years to come to help hold the

church to the Scriptures."

Graham also wrote that his wife, Ruth, "credits him

with being used by God to save her doubting faith while a

student at Wheaton (College)." Graham also credited Lindsell

with filling the void at Christianity Today after its

founding editor, Carl F.H. Henry, moved on to other

pursuits.

Lindsell was Christianity Today's editor from 1968-78

and had authored more than 20 books, including another

volume on the issue of biblical authority, "The Bible in the

Balance," 1979, and several study Bibles.

Lindsell held membership in Southern Baptist churches

throughout his career -- most recently at El Toro Baptist

Church, Lake Forest, Calif., and earlier at Glenfield

Baptist Church, Glen Ellyn, Ill., and First Baptist Church,

Alexandria, Va. He was ordained in 1944 at First Baptist

Church, Columbia, S.C., where he was a professor of church

history and missions at Columbia Bible College.

One of the chapters in Lindsell's "Battle for the

Bible" was devoted to the Southern Baptist Convention,

which, he wrote, "has numbers of people in it who deny

biblical infallibility. They are challenging the historic

position of the denomination and constitute a threat to its

future. Not only so, but it will be shown that some who have

abandoned biblical inerrancy have also abandoned other

cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith so that in any

historic sense they have ceased to be Baptists as understood

traditionally."

In the chapter, Lindsell took issue with several

individual Baptists and Baptist institutions over their

stances on biblical authority.

"Southern Baptists will have to act with dispatch in

the next few years. If they fail to do so, the infection

will spread and the time must come when there will be a

showdown," Lindsell wrote at the end of the chapter. "And

the longer the Southern Baptists wait, the rougher the

battle will be, the more traumatic the consequences, and the

less obvious the outcome in favor of historic Christianity."

He added, "At this moment in history the great bulk of

the Southern Baptists are theologically orthodox and do

believe that the Word of God is inerrant. At this moment

there is no reason for those who support infallibility to

give up on the denomination."

Lindsell wrote in the preface of "The Battle for the

Bible," "The book itself could be expanded almost

indefinitely, for there is no end to the available material.

The data I have used comprise only a small part of what I

have personally collected for ten years. ... But I have

tried to represent matters fairly and objectively. ... I

hope that I have not misquoted or misinterpreted anyone

whose words appear in this book. There is sufficient

material available that makes it unnecessary to do this."

Born in New York City on Dec. 22, 1913, Lindsell

graduated from Wheaton College in 1938, then earned a

master's degree in history from the University of California

at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in history from New York University.

In 1947, Lindsell and six other men founded Fuller

Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif. At Fuller until 1964,

Lindsell served as registrar, then dean of the faculty and

then vice president.

Leaving Fuller, he moved to Washington to work as an

associate editor at Christianity Today. In 1968, he became

editor, moving to Wheaton when the magazine relocated there.

In addition to his wife, Lindsell is survived by three

grown daughters and a son; 11 grandchildren; and one great-

grandchild.

A memorial service was held Jan. 18 at St. Andrew's

Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, Calif.