After studying Ethelbert's life, I have no doubt that he was aware of the atmosphere of unsettlement and unbelief that permeated the society in which he lived. His location in London, the centre of religious and scholarly circles, his wide-ranging interests and voluminous reading, his friendship with many in positions of influence, his own intellectual attainments- all these factors attest to this. Yet, of the many paths open to him, Bullinger chose to study, live by and teach the Bible. As a close friend once said: "To him [Bullinger] it was the Word of God, the revelation to men of the mind and Will of God; he was a convinced upholder of its inspiration and a stout defender of its verbal accuracy, apart from defective translation weaknesses." The following assessment of Biblical scholarship during his day shows how lonely that path must have been:
By 1900 all serious scholars had accepted without hesitation the main conclusions of biblical criticism. Fundamentalism was now confined to a group of extreme Evangelicals and nonconformists, who clung to the Bible in its literal sense as the final authority which could not be touched....
But Bullinger never was a man of the mainstream; he was one of those rare individuals who sought to live his life influenced neither by the praise nor the fear of his fellow-man. As he himself once wrote:
Popularity is not to be our aim; success is not to be our object; results are not to be our guide; we are called to be faithful in our testimony.
This is an ideal which many seek to attain. Few, in reality, do. I invite you to open up these pages and to meet this unique individual whom I went to Great Britain to find. May you enjoy becoming acquainted with him as I have and may his faithful witness be as much an inspiration to you as it has been to me.
from page xxiii, E. W. Bullinger: A Biography