Jimmy Tuten, Jr.
In her novel The Great Lion of God, Taylor Caldwell aptly describes the basis upon which men can reason together. She says:
"When another man, arguing with you, speaks objectively and with temperance and coolness, and also with dispassionate reason, you can then both define acceptable terms and frames of reference, and the argument can proceed without animosity of heat or disorder. to mutual satisfaction and pleasure. But when a man argues solely from his inmost and emotional tempers, and is entangled, like the Laocoon, with his own passions from which he cannot extricate himself, you argue with him at your peril, for even if you lose the argument in a cauldron of steaming incoherencies your opponent will hale You forever afterwards" (p. 294).
In Acts 2 and in Acts 7 two speeches are recorded; One by Peter and the other by Stephen. Stephen's speech cost him his life, while that of Peter resulted in about 3,000 souls believing and being baptized. Why the extreme results? Perhaps the answer lies in the quotation given above.
This scribe is not saying that Stephen was at fault, for often the guilt lies on one side of the issue. In this case the people were cut to the heart with rage and fury. They could not stand Stephen's rebuke. They were wild as a bull and full of the fury. There was great vexation within them and they fretted to see Stephen in his manifested token of divine power and presence. Here was a course bravely pleaded, yet the audience of Stephen resolved not to yield to it.
Let us give ourselves to dispassionate reason. Let us calmly search for truth!
"These were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so" (Acts 17: 11).
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 49, p. 4