“Toying with the Truth”

Crawford H. Toy (1836-1919) was a promising phenom in Southern Baptist life. He was a gifted teacher with a bright future in training the next generation for ministry. He spent a decade teaching at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary alongside some of its founders, and he even courted the famous missionary Lottie Moon. However, Toy failed to do what the Apostle Paul exhorted young Timothy to do: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). Over the years, Toy spent more time studying higher criticism and exploring other worldviews without keeping his mooring in God’s Word, and slowly and steadily he drifted away from the faith he once professed. He was forced to resign his professorship, but the damage was already done; he had misled a number of his students due to his own drift from the truth. What lessons can we learn from this sad story? First, we must constantly keep our Bibles open, returning to the words of eternal life again and again so we remain anchored in the truth. Second, we must invite others into our lives to hold us accountable lest we diverge from the truth without anyone to help us correct course. Finally, we must recognize that our personal decisions always affect other people. May the Lord help us to do exactly what Paul called Timothy to do for his church: “Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). May we never toy with the truth, but treasure it and teach it instead!

Pastor Mike