Willing to Change

raymond CoxMy mentor, Dr Raymond Cox, wasn’t perfect, but he was a wonderful man and a faithful servant to Jesus.

As Raymond lay dying, I received a phone call from a mutual friend. “Doc, I just got a call from Raymond’s son. You’re closer to Raymond than anyone else and he wants to know if there’s anything in his dad’s files that should be destroyed before the files are sent to the Bible college.

When I visited Raymond I asked him that question. Knowing him, I expected some tasty secret I could take to my grave. Raymond was a member of the Royal National Geographic Society, published hundreds of magazine articles, preached in Red Square during the tyranny of Brezhnev, ghost wrote the autobiography of one of America’s most tantalizing religious figures, and was the historian of the Foursquare Gospel Church.

Raymond looked at me seriously and then said, “Well, there is one thing that would surprise everyone. I’ve been a closet Calvinist all my life.”

To most of you that means little or nothing, but in our church circles it was scandalous!

Years earlier I had the honor of re-publishing one of Raymond’s books. As I reviewed the book, I found an idea I was surprised he believed true.

I opened my Bible to the passage in question and point-by-point explained why he was wrong. When I was done he said, “You’re right. I’ve never seen that before. I just accepted what I’d been taught about those verses.” He permitted me to edit the section and bring it into agreement with Scripture.

Raymond was an experienced pastor and brilliant Biblical scholar, but he was also willing to learn and change when his views didn’t match the Bible. None of us knows everything, but we should all be as true to the Word of God as was Dr Cox.

The Bereans were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).


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