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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sydney Anglicans in Dive to the Bottom

My heart's desire is to see Christ's Church advancing rather than retreating in the society in which we live. That is my constant prayer to God because God deserves His Name applied to that which does good to society in a substantial way and people, Christians and non-Christians, benefit when a society is brought under strong impressions of Jesus Christ.

Sadly, that is not the case in Sydney despite well meaning intentions of those within the Church.

As if only day to day observation hasn't been enough to reveal just that, take a look at the brutal statistics produced for the Western Sydney Regional Organization of Councils (WSROC).

Bear in mind that the statistics, derived from Australian Bureau of Statistic Census data, are only those of people who declare they are of particular religions and denominations so, for Christianity, they are not a record of church goers nor are they a statistic of actual Christians. Those latter statistics would be lower still.

Being statistics collected for the years 2006 and 2011, the WSROC statistics are very helpful for Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) to weigh the fruit of the "Connect 09" and broader "10% of Sydney population in Bible believing churches" campaigns initiated within the Diocese. Year 2006 is helpful because it is about the mid point of the decade of evangelism desiged to get the 10% of the population of Sydney into Bible believing churches and it is also three years before Connect 09. Year 2011 statistics provide the fruit of each campaign's labours.

Since conclusion of the campaigns the Archbishop of the Diocese of Sydney has, more than once, said he has seen increased numbers of attendance within the Diocese. However, the WSROC statistics suggest the Archbishop's reading of parish returns are, at best, wistful. Maybe the parish returns need overhaul in one or both of the data sought or data being returned.

The WSROC statistics are a disaster for the two evangelistic campaigns initiated by the Diocese and of grievous foreboding for the Diocese. Here are sorry statistics I have extracted for this text:

West & South West Sydney

Year 2006 Ang. 15%

Year 2011 Ang. 13.2%

Greater Sydney

Year 2006 Ang. 17.9%

Year 2011 Ang. 16.1%

The statistics show there has been an approximate decline of 2% in the number of people declaring themselves Anglican in both West/South-West Sydney and in Greater Sydney. If the two associated evangelistic campaigns of the Diocese had been a success it surely would have been reflected in the Census of 2011. It was not and it is not "Peace, Peace" it is "Disaster, Disaster".

Islam and Hinduism are on the rise and the Diocese is going backward - on its way to the cellar where dwells the Uniting Church at 2.8%! Sure, there is a big difference between 16.1% and 2.8% but twenty years ago the Anglican Church statistic was around 26%. In those twenty years Roman Catholic statistics have held up but Anglicans have gone seriously backward.

Hard questions need to be asked within the Diocese.

I don't want to hear "The Church is always a minority in society!" It does not have to be so demonstrably a minority and has not always been. Take on board the words of John Weir in his account of "The Ulster Awakening" of 1859. After giving many individual testimonies of the work of the Holy Spirit in Ulster, Northern Ireland, he laments, on page 256, that such a work was needed in England. He then speaks of church statistics in Great Britain in 1859 as follows:

"According to evidence (recently published) before the Lords' Select Committee on Church-rates, which sat towards the close of last session, and from calculations based upon accurate data, it appears that there are 7,546,948 actual church-going men of the Church of England, or 42 per cent of the gross population; and 4,466,266 nominal churchmen, but practically of no church, or 25 per cent of the gross population."

Wow! 42% actual church-going and 25% nominal men only and that is not enough for what John Weir thinks has been or can be achieved in better times.

The Sydney Diocese is in far worse circumstance and it is getting worse all the time.

One pertinent question for the Diocese is: "What is the Diocese doing which equates to the Uniting Church and is sending it the way of the Uniting Church?"

One thing it is doing is following the Uniting Church in dissembling the authority of the Word of God. It does this, like the Uniting Church, in the reading and interpretation of the Word of God in Genesis 1 and threads are being observed of dissembling the reading and interpretation of the Word of God on homosexuality.

If the Anglican (Episcopalian) Diocese of Sydney does not trust God why should God entrust the Diocese with bringing large numbers into the church? The statistics produced by WSROC show God has not entrusted the Diocese with such a work and the Diocesan evangelistic campaigns of the past decade, in terms of extending the Kingdom of God, have been a failure.

I wish it were all otherwise.

Sam Drucker

Friday, December 21, 2012

When War Can't Be Avoided

Interesting to see Secularists, Humanists and Atheists in England are so rabid in punishing independent schools that will not teach evolution or that will not teach it as fact.

There must be something in that Christianity which simply and humbly takes God at his Word if the lead representatives of fallen man are so agressive against it.

I wonder whether those within Christianity who compromise with the Word of God on this issue ever wonder why it is that the enemies of God are so active on this front.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, December 16, 2012

God and His Testimony

It is so disappointing that Theistic Evolutionists put so much faith in a paradigm and less faith in God who reveals Himself in His Word Written and Incarnate. Do they really test that in which they have put their errant faith?

Correspondent John has previously drawn attention to "Haldane's Dilemma" at this blogspot and I mention it here in a slightly broader context. Just to give readers a background to Haldane's Dilemma I provide an acceptable explanation by Walter Re Mine in his monumental work "The Biotic Message - Evolution v Versus Message Theory" (1993):

"Evolution requires the substitution of old prevalent traits with new rare traits. There are limits to the rate these substitutions can occur, limits that depend primarily on the reproductive capacity of the species. Haldane's Dilemma examines these limits.

Imagine a breeding population of 100,000 individuals. Imagine 99,998 have the old trait O, and two (a male and female) have the new trait N. Imagine trait N has just arisen from O by beneficial mutation. The evolutionary goal is to substitute trait N for trait O in the population. To accomplish this goal, differential survival must eliminate the 99,998 type O individuals and all their heirs.

This can be accomplished in a single generation if there is perfect selection. (That is, if the survival values of O and N are 0 and 1 respectively.) Yet, there is an enormous cost involved. For every surviving type N individual there are 49,999 individuals (type O) that must perish without heirs. The population size must be regenerated from the two survivors.

Now allot the maximum speed to evolution. Let us assume evolution can happen like this continuously, generation after generation, for millions of years. Take a species like man with a nominal 20 year generation time. Extrapolate backward from this known species to a time 10 million years ago. This is three times earlier than the said occurrence of the four foot high australopithecine "Lucy." This is twice as old as the alleged split between gorilla, chimpanzee, and man. In that much time, how many traits could be substituted at this crashing pace? One per generation, maximum — approximately 500,000.

These substituted traits are simple changes having arisen by mutation. These can be of many types. The new trait might be a DNA inversion, gene duplication. or deletion, for example. Also, organisms are not merely the possession of the right genes. The position and sequence of genes on a chromosome are important to their action, expression, and propagation. So, a substituted trait can be some thing as simple as a new location of a gene on a chromosome. The substituted traits can be many different things. Yet, every time you wish to move a gene to a new position, or delete a gene, or duplicate a gene, or substitute any trait, no matter how trivial, then there is a cost to be paid.

According to the neo-Darwinian synthesis, these substituted traits are typically a new version of a gene — an allele. The new substituted gene typically differs from the old gene by one newly mutated nucleotide. So, the substituted trait is nominally a nucleotide. The following discussion deals with substituted traits as though they are all nucleotides. This focuses the problem and makes it more comprehensible, while remaining true to the essence of modern evolutionary thought.

With these clarifications, let us return to the example. Take an ape-like creature from 10 million years ago, substitute a maximum of 500,000 selectively significant nucleotides and you would have a poet philosopher? What does that sound like to you? How much information can be packed into 500,000 nucleotides? It is roughly one-hundredth of one percent of the nucleotide sites in each human ovum.

Is this enough to account for the significantly improved skulls, jaws, teeth feet, speech, upright posture, abstract thought, and appreciation of music, to name just a few? If you find it doubtful, then you are beginning to understand why this is important. It sets a limit on the number of traits that can be substituted by differential survival in the available time
."

"Haldane's Dilemma" has, for many decades, posed a serious time problem for advocates of Evolution. The time is just not there for life to have evolved to the state it is today. Yet Theistic Evolutionists remain inclined to distrust the straight-forward reading of the Word of God on Origins.

Adding to the absurdity of their course, Theistic Evolutionists ignore the findings of Collagen in fossils and bones of creatures alleged to have lived and died multiple millions of years ago. Scientists acknowledge that, even in the best preservation conditions, Collagen will not last more than hundreds of thousands of years. So, to find Collagen in a supposed 40 million year old lizard leg, a supposed 50 million year old fossil fish and allegedly even older fossils and bones of dinosaurs really throws serious doubt over dating of fossils, to the point where the dating is unsustainable. Yet Theistic Evolutionists blindly accept evolutionary dating.

Why it is that the Church has many within prepared to insult our Lord by casting doubt on His Word is all but beyond me. I guess I have to remind myself how it was that Israel of old so many times cast doubt on God though they had seen His works.

Sam Drucker

Friday, December 14, 2012

History Speaks But Who is Listening?

"On the 24th August in the Year of the City 1164, and in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 410, the Goths under Alaric entered and sacked Rome. 'My voice sticks in my throat', says Jerome, 'and sobs choke me as I dictate. The city which took the whole world captive is itself taken.' Jerome uttered the sensations of all, both Christian and heathen. There has been no such shock to Europe since."

That was an extract from Charles Williams' work "The Descent of the Dove", 1939.

The experience of Jerome was a blow for believers and unbelievers alike. It came approximately one hundred years after Christianity became the religion of the State under Emperor Constantine. The blessings of Christianity upon an empire had passed and moral decay left the empire prime for being overrun.

Fast forward a little more than a millennium and a great blessing from the Lord brought Reformation of the Church in Europe. The Reformation brought moral change to society at large.

However, about one hundred years later, Puritan writer Thomas Watson had this to say about the society of England:

"Mourn for the errors and blasphemies of the nation. There is now a free trade of error. Toleration gives men a patent to sin. What cursed opinion that has been long ago buried in the Church but is now digged out of the grave and by some worshipped? England is like that man in the Gospel who had a spirit of an unclean devil. Mourn for the removing of landmarks. Mourn for the contempt offered to the magistracy: the spitting in the face of authority. Mourn that there are so few mourners. Surely if we mourn not for the sins of others it is to be feared we are not sensible of our own sins. God looks down upon us as guilty of those sins in others which we do not lament. Our tears may help us to quench God's wrath."

Blessing upon the Church and society came through the ministry of the Puritans but proceed a little less than one hundred years later and you find a state of the nation, described later in "Great Christian Leaders of the 18th Century" by Bishop John Charles Ryle, as follows:

"What were the morals of a hundred years ago? It may suffice to say that duelling, adultery, fornication, gambling, swearing, Sabbath-breaking and drunkenness were hardly regarded as they were the fashionable practices of people in the highest ranks of society, and no one was thought the worse of for indulging in them. The best evidence of this point is to be found in Hogarth's pictures."

and

"The prince of this world made good use of his opportunity. His agents were active and zealous in promulgating every kind of strange and blasphemous opinion. Collins and Tindal denounced Christianity as priestcraft Whiston pronounced the miracles of the Bible to be grand impositions. Woolston declared them to be allegories. Arianism and Socinianism were openly taught by Clark and Priestly, and became fashionable among the intellectual part of the community. Of the utter incapacity of the pulpit to stem the progress of all this flood of evil, one single fact will give us some idea. The celebrated lawyer, Blackstone, had the curiosity, early in the reign of George III., to go from church to church and hear every clergyman of note in London. He says that he did not hear a single discourse which had more Christianity in it than the writings of Cicero, and that it would have been impossible for him to discover, from what he heard, whether the preacher were a follower of Confucius, of Mahomet, or of Christ!"

Then, of course, came a great outpouring of God's Holy Spirit on the Church which had one effect of wide ranging morality in society in Great Britain and in America and advancement of Western Society.

However, about one hundred years later, in the Nineteenth Century, the influence of Christianity had waned again and society was again breaking down. Then came another outpouring of God's Holy Spirit in America around the middle of the century. A similar outpouring occurred in Northern Ireland with some effect in England through Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

At that time too, a tool for rebellion against God came through the release of Charles Darwin's works on the "Origin of the Species ..." and since that time there has been pretty much nothing but decline in Western Society and the influence of the Church on society. Secularism dominates the education system and the ordering of society. Political Correctness serves to weaken society's link to its stronger moral past and the Church languishes on the sideline like a player lacking capacity to contribute to the 'only game in town'.

An impotent Church leads to an unsuspecting society being prime to be overrun yet the attack will come slowly and not so much with the scale of conflict Jerome in Rome observed. No, the assault comes with the flooding of society with Islam. Already, in the name of Secularism and Political Correctness, politicians in Western Society make compromises to accommodate the march of Islam. In Melbourne, Australia, in year 2013 a conference is planned in the name of Islam and 20,000 people are expected by organizers. Speakers at the event have elsewhere declared their hatred of Israel and Western Society.

Who'd a thunk it?

What does the future hold for Western Society? Will God intervene with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church and society as He has done in the past? Or are we on the threshold of a great persecution which will end only with the return of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ?

Who's to say? But Christians getting down on their knees in prayer, repentance and petition to God presents as the only hope for good.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Inner Witness and Our Confidence in Scripture.

We have raised here before the seeming 'schizophrenic' approach taken by many within the Episcopalian (Anglican) Diocese toward the Inerrancy of Scripture. This is demonstrated in their high regard for the authority of the New Testament but a different rule (or devices) applied to parts of the Old Testament. Some, however, are not so inconsistent and are ready to jettison altogether the Reformed principle of Inerrancy of Scripture. Both failings have their root in the capitulation of the Diocesan theological seminary - Moore Theological College - to the world's view on Origins.

Undoubtedly, the Evil One has a hand in this by working on sin resident in man. That sin, once activated, rises up to contest the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit in regenerate man. The Holy Spirit, remember, is the promise of our Lord Jesus of much blessing and worth, including that of leading into all truth (John 16:13). Though that was the promise of our Lord to his disciples it follows that the Holy Spirit, dwelling in us today, will desire to teach us truth and not than error.

I was reminded of this when reading an article entitled "The Inner Witness and the Sufficiency of Scripture" by Richard C. Ross, former Minister of of Ackhill Baptist Church, Presteigne, Powys, Wales, published in Banner of Truth journal of November, 1981, parts of which I restate here:

"Submission to the Holy Scriptures as the inerrant word of God and the recognition of Scripture as the only rule for faith and conduct is the nucleus of personal Christian obedience (John 17.17). In order to recognize and confess the true character of Scripture we depend upon two distinct but related witnesses; the witness Scripture gives to itself and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.

The inner witness or inner testimony of the Holy Spirit operates in two particular areas: 'It is an aid to faith, by producing conviction regarding the nature, worth and authority of Scripture; it is an aid to understanding by providing the illumination which enables one to seize the meaning of the text'
. [He here quotes from R. Pache in "The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture", 1969]

By the grace of God, the Spirit's inner witness, both as conviction and illumination, is the inheritance of every believer. But it is vulnerable to resistance and suppression. The believer has a considerable capacity for inconsistency. Every individual sin is an expression of the believer's inconsistency with the new nature he has received, an inconsistency which plagues him throughout his life. That this inconsistency may find expression in relation to a confession of the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, while deplorable, is not incredible. The divinity, reliability and sufficiency of Scripture have been targets for singularly intense attacks and, as every believer is liable to a greater or lesser degree to be put off balance by prevailing opinions, it is conceivable that the Spirit's gentle witness may be ignored or even smothered. For this reason it is wise to be wary of precipitately concluding that all who fail to respond with consistency to the claims of Scripture are, for that reason, unregenerate. A failure to bear witness to the absolute authority of Scripture does not, in itself, prove apostasy. It is however our duty to warn men that this sinful inconsistency and insensitivity has the strongest tendency to lead towards a total apostasy. The possibility of resisting the Spirit's inner witness ought therefore to make us more vigilant that we ourselves may avoid this particular sin."

We ought take on board Ross' counsel as we wrestle with past and present faculty and students of Moore Theological College on their, at times, disregard for for the inerrancy of Scripture. As we all, at times, succumb to sin in some way or another we should be mindful to be firm but not destructive in our dealings with sin in others on the matter of regard for the Word of God.

Sam Drucker

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Hazards of Blind Dating.

Many Christians have succumbed to the world, believing the idea of the earth being under ten thousand years is absurd because of the 'demonstrated' science of long ages.

Obviously, whether by fear of man or downright laziness, they are not prepared to apply a rigorous test to the assertions of the world concerning the derived age of the earth and its components. Whatever long age dates thrown up to them in the media or other source the dates are swallowed withour test.

Biblical Creationists have long questioned dates assigned to rocks by radiometric dating and have produced a number of spurious radiometric dates when the actual age of the sample had been known eg basalt from an observed volcanic event.

It is not as if Biblical Creationists are alone in questioning radiometric dating. The problems are known by secular scientists, as attested in the report in nature.com 25 July 2012.

Reporting on the efforts of a scientist to develop a portable chronometre to aid the dating of rocks in space exploration, the writer at nature.com says "Anderson will have to show not only that his chronometer is fast and light, but also that his dates make sense. Radiometric dates are some of the trickiest, most delicate and most disputed measurements on Earth. [emphasis mine] Anderson wants to transform what has been a laborious process of chemical extraction and analysis into a laser-based system, automate it and shrink it into a robot small and reliable enough to send to another planet."

If only Christians, in much greater number, would take the trouble to learn just how questionable assigned dates from radiometric dating are and then be more ready to trust the Word of God on Origins.


Sam Drucker

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Tale of Two 'Christians'.

Consider the following two stories.

'Christian A' - had believed he had been saved in Jesus Christ but his walk with the Lord had been dry and lacking conviction. It was as if he was just going through the motions of Christian life - church going, prayer, Bible reading, church activities and trying to live as a Christian would. One day, after many years, and now a senior citizen 'Christian A' came 'alive' and was fully appreciative and energized in his Christian life.

'Christian B' - had believed he had been saved in Jesus Christ and was active in all Christian interests and church life. One day he gave Christianity away, citing difficulty in accepting two chapters of the Bible as his reason.

There is a common thread between 'Christian A' and 'Christian B'.

For 'Christian A' his life had become routine and dry until he looked in his DVD library, pulled out a DVD (of which he had no idea how it got there) and watched it. The DVD was called "A Question of Origins" which presented a Biblical Creationist perspective on the origin of life. The content of the DVD was convincing and gave him a lively appreciation of his Lord's office as Creator. Suddenly, any doubts he might have had about the reliability of the Bible evaporated and he was refreshed with new life in Jesus Christ. This has been demonstrably noticeable among his family and friends.

For 'Christian B' his life upon 'accepting' Jesus Christ as Saviour seemed to him and all around him that of a Christian. However, there was an area where Jesus Christ was not Lord of his life. It was the question of Origins and the world's view on this subject which ruled this man's life. He could not accept the Genesis 1 and 2 account of Origins. Eventually, he came to realize he could not accept the Bible and it drove him away from Jesus Christ.

'Christian A' was a Christian all along. 'Christian B' is now either very badly backslidden or never was a Christian i.e. he only came close to Jesus Christ and then moved away.

There are many so-called Evangelicals today who persist in presenting only a crucified Saviour and the fruit of their labour are 'Christians' engaging in mental gymnastics trying to hold onto Jesus Christ and the world's view of Origins. They have not accepted Jesus Christ in all His offices because there has been no genuine requirement from many within the Church to do this. Some will go on but some will be choked out.

The late Ernest Reisinger, Pastor Emeritus, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida, knew something of the failure to preach the reception of all of Jesus Christ. In an article for Banner of Truth in July 1992 under the title "Lordship, Experience and Interpretation" he said:

"Many say, 'When I was young I accepted Christ as my personal Saviour and that experience had some influence on my life for a time, but I did not really live an active Christian life for years. Later I was taught that Christ must be my Lord and that the problem with my defeated life was because I had not submitted to Christ as my Lord when I trusted him as my Saviour. So I did just that - submitted to Christ as my Lord. Since that experience I have been living the Christian life on a different plane.'"

Later, Reisinger said:

"We all know Christians who give every evidence of being born again, yet they know nothing about the theological term 'regeneration'. Their experience is better than their understanding. John says in his little epistle, 'He that has the Son has life.' When we have Christ we have him in all of his offices - all of his person and all of his saving work - though one may not ever fully understand it."

Reisinger acknowledges that we need to be careful that there will be those who have bowed to the Lordship of Christ but don't actually understand they have. However, he also asserts there are those who have no cause to believe they are Christian at all. He goes on to say:

"I am sorry that the phrase, 'trust Christ as your personal Saviour', has crept into the Christian church in the last hundred years and has become common in present-day evangelism. It did not come from the New Testament, the apostles, the respected Church Fathers or the Reformers. It is not found in the Westminster standards or in the old Baptist Confessions. You will not find it among the great preachers of the past - men such as Bunyan, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, etc."

Sadly, the Episcopalian (Anglican) Diocese of Sydney is rife with a deficient presentation of Jesus Christ. Both 'Christian A' and 'Christian B' were communicants of the Diocese and the Diocese has not handled either communicant well. The new vitality of 'Christian A' is being stifled because of a fear of Biblical Creationists while 'Christian B' is just a memory of confusion and disappointment without solution.

So-called Evangelicals within the Diocese should remember that those who receive Jesus Christ are to receive Him in all His glory as Lord, Creator, Prophet, Priest and Saviour.

Sam Drucker

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Simple Mind.

In 1859, certain parts of the world became marked scenes in the long war that had been taking place in the heavenly realms. For the Evil One, the occasion was publication in England of "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" by Charles Darwin. For the Lord our God, it was the Awakening of souls to salvation in America and parts of Britain.

The Evil One's work continues to have its effect through that book today while the work of the Lord our God continues on a different scale to the intensity experienced in 1859 (and a couple of years prior) in certain places. The Province of Ulster in Ireland was the scene of great blessing in that earlier time and at least one striking incident, to my mind, deserves mention here. The township of Broughshane had come under deep impression of the Holy Spirit. A public prayer meeting was the scene for many testimonies of lately converted people - many of whom ordinarily could not put more than a few articulate words together - and yet they spoke on this occasion with words, though brief, which cut to the heart of hearers. One such speaker had, until the week before been a drunkard. He stood up and trembled as he spoke:

"Gentlemen, I appear before you this day as a vile sinner, many of you know me, you have but to look at me and recognize the profligate of Broughshane, you know I was an old man hardened in sin; you know I was a servant of the devil, and he led me by that instrument of his, the spirit of the barley. I brought my wife and family to beggary more than fifty years ago; in short, I defy the townland of Broughshane to produce my equal in profligacy, or any sin whatever; but ah, gentlemen, I have seen Jesus, I was born again on last night week, I am therefore a week old today, or about; my heavy and enormous sin is all gone, the Lord Jesus took it away, and I stand before you this day, not only a pattern of profligacy, but a monument of the perfect grace of God! I stand here to tell you that God's work on Calvary is perfect - yes, I have proved it - his work is perfect. He is not like an architect who makes a drawing of a building, and then he looks at it, and he takes out this line and that, or makes some other alteration, and frequently alters all his plan, and even when the building is going on he makes some other change, - but God drew out the plan of salvation, and it was complete, and he carried it out with his blessed Son Jesus; and it is all perfect, for had it not been so, it would have been incapable of reaching the depth of iniquity of - the profligate nailer of Broughshane."

That testimony of a simple man some 150 years ago in the back blocks of Ireland, for much of his life dead in his sin but in delivery of the testimony new and alive in Jesus Christ, is most instructive. He rightly acknowledges the perfecting manner in the way Jesus Christ completed His salvific work and its immediacy in a receptive heart of man.

Upon receiving Jesus Christ we are fully justified and sufficiently sanctified to eternal life. Though there be degrees of sanctification and a work of Holy Spirit to lift us to higher holiness, that is not to deny the sanctification sufficient to eternal life received upon new birth.

The manner in which our Lord works in salvation is no different to the way he worked in Creation and will be no different in our Resurrection. In none of those works is our Lord like some architect, even a great architect, who would do so much of a work only to step back, review, alter, move on only to stop, review and alter his plan again and again. Sin in regenerate man necessitates a work after sufficient sanctification to help us all the more enjoy the way of new creation but this was not the way in pre-rebellious Adam who was made without sin in the first place.

To inflict upon our Lord the notion of him creating - through means of evolution - a manner so far removed from the revelation of Himself in Being and history is a grievous hurt to His nature, works and glory.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 5 of 5)

This is the final instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992:

"III. The Higher Critical Movement has been Guilty of Robbing us of our Glorious Theological Heritage in this Country

It is no accident that in proportion as the Higher Critical influence in this country grew, so interest in our great heritage of classic Reformed theology declined. It is entirely understandable that this should have been so. If the new criticism which swept through the land in and after 1860 was true then the older writers are worthless. A new theology had to be written in the light of the critical alterations to what were now outworn creeds of earlier centuries.

This was what the scholars attempted and we need not be afraid to say that the attempt has proved a lamentable and a conspicuous failure. Once the Bible was set aside as no true textbook of theology, it was left to the ingenuity of men to reconstruct a theology for the church. It was not long before the church's creed therefore began to shrink drastically until today we have something like the following: A human 'Jesus' without a Virgin Birth, without a bodily Resurrection and without miracles. We have a God who is 'love', but neither just nor holy. We have a 'gospel' which is so atrophied that it might easily have been invented by a pre-Christian Greek philosopher who had never heard the preaching of the Apostles at all. We have a new morality which condones promiscuity, social abortion and even sometimes homosexuality.

We have, in a word, a Christianity which is shorn of all that is distinctive and unique. It is a travesty of the New Testament message an little wonder, therefore, if the people of this country have turned their backs on it in favour of Roman Catholicism, Islam, the New Age Movement, one or other of the cults, or, more probably, upon the age old Hedonism which says, 'Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die'.

My argument is that the Higher Critical movement has to bear a very great proportion of the guilt for these changes which have occurred over the past hundred years in our beloved land. Our far-sighted forefathers in the Faith who began this Bible League a century ago saw all these evils coming. C. H. Spurgeon saw these evils looming up in his day and so did other spiritually-minded men and women of that age. It was a dark day of unbelief and an age of apostasy. It was a guilty undermining of all that God had said in his Holy Word and the effects are with us all in our nation today: chaos in the religious world, chaos in the moral realm, chaos in the family, chaos in the pulpit and chaos in the pew.

C. H. Spurgeon, you may remember, said towards the close of his life that he expected to be 'eaten of dogs' for the next fifty years. That was to be a very accurate prediction. His reputation fell far in the decade following his death. But in the 1950s a change came. Spurgeon's sermons began again to be reprinted. At the same time, Mr Geoffrey Williams, the founder of the Evangelical Library, was exerting his influence to bring back God-honouring books to the attention of his generation. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, more than any other man probably in this country, was also powerfully drawing attention to the conservative theology which had once been the glory of this nation. Mr S. M. Houghton of the Bible League and others became indefatigable servants of Christ, buying up books in second-hand shops and promoting by word of mouth and by their pen a knowledge of that stronger and greater theology which had been almost lost in this country for the past fifty years.

A new day was beginning to dawn on this country. Spurgeon's word had been prophetic. He was 'eaten of dogs for fifty years', but a later generation was beginning now to vindicate him.

The spectre of Higher Criticism still lingers everywhere: in universities, in divinity departments, in school classrooms, in teacher training colleges, in BBC religion, in many lukewarm churches of our land today. But the Higher Criticism for all its wide presence in the nation is without a message and without a sense of direction. Its books languish unused in libraries and are sold for next to nothing in second-handhand bookshops.

On the other hand, the old Reformed theology is gaining momentum. In May 1992, one hundred years after the Bible League was founded in defence of the Word of God, we are, I believe, at the beginning of a new movement of the Spirit of God to recover truth and righteousness for our beloved Britain again - and for the world.

May God be thanked for his goodness to us and may his kingdom come in power and in demonstration of the Spirit
."

Maurice Roberts' optimism twenty years ago has not been realised as yet in Great Britain and is not seen in Sydney. All applications of Higher Criticism can be found in the attitude of most Sydney Episcopalian (Anglican) clergy and theological professors toward the reading and understanding of the Genesis creation account. The problem does not end there. Having taken a weak stance on the reading of Genesis it is understandable that some now have moved on to superimpose human reason over the Word of God in other issues eg homosexuality. Many pewsitters will be shocked in, coming years, to hear opinions emerge from some they have regarded as evangelical leaders.

It is noteworthy that Maurice Roberts saw the period around 1860 as the time of full scale assault of Higher Criticism on the Church in Great Britain. It does not require much thought to realise that Higher Criticism came then with a strong ally - the Theory on the Origin of the Species etc.

Could you imagine Israel under King David receiving even one of the surrounding nations if they came armed upon Israel as a pair? Not at all! But the Church in Great Britain received one or both, as has the Church in Australia. Even to receive one is to receive both. It is then just a matter of time before the job of each is done - a decimated Church of little worth to the nation and of no glory to God.

Sam Drucker

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 4 of 5)

This is the fourth instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992. As you read, bring to mind the thinking you encounter when dealing with Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on Genesis 1:

"Take, for instance, these words of Professor H. H. Rowley in 1951: 'Many of the conclusions that seemed most sure have been challenged, and there is now a greater variety of views on many questions than has been known for a long time.' So much then for the much-vaunted claims that Criticism was giving us some 'assured results'.

We can unhesitatingly state that the Higher Critical movement made claims that were bogus and which turned out in the course of events to be unsubstantial and worthless. All this has led the Christian church of that time and subsequently into great scepticism and ignorance.

The Higher Critics were also not above using the tactics of the bully against those who disagreed with them. They could, of course, point on their side to a list of impressive scholarly names: T. K. Cheyne, S. R. Driver, A. S. Peake, A. B. Bruce, W. R. Smith, Marcus Dodds' and many others. So they tended to write off the opposition as unscholarly.

This was the case, for example, when Alfred Cave in 1888 attacked the Graf-Wellhausen theory. They simply dismissed him as an ignoramus! Unfortunately for them, they could not do this with a scholar of the stature of Professor B. B. Warfield of Princeton. So in his case they simply held a conspiracy of silence. They could not evidently answer Warfield's strictures on the Higher Critical theories and so they simply ignored him!

My point is to show that the Higher Criticism with all its high claim to objective scholarship was really guilty of a great deal of dishonesty and even deception. For all of this it is chargeable with guiltiness in bringing great harm upon the Christian church from that day to this.

As we have seen, the Higher Critics scoffed at the doctrine of the divine inspiration of Scripture. They resorted to caricature by terming it 'the dictation theory' or 'mechanical theory'. But this is not what the church of Christ has taught by its doctrine of inspiration. The style of Bible writers is distinct and personal to each man. The God who formed the personality of the writer and gave him the gifts, so influenced his activity that he wrote down words which were Scripture. The precise terms, words, phrases, expressions and syllables in the original languages were written just as God intended them to be written.

Then, too, the Higher Critics charge evangelicals with reasoning in a circle. They put it something like this: 'You evangelicals prove the Bible to be inerrant by quoting two texts from the Bible itself. But that shows that you are assuming from the start the thing you are attempting to prove.' And that,' they conclude, 'is circular reasoning.' The answer, of course, to this Higher Critical charge is that they themselves are guilty of the very same thing in reverse. They assume the validity of the critical method and so they come to their conclusion that the Bible is not inerrant because it does not conform to their own first assumptions.

The fact is that all reasoning is 'circular' in that sense, and it has to be. As Aristotle taught the world over two thousand years ago, syllogistic reasoning has a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion. Everything depends on what your first premises are. If you start with an infallible Bible you end with one; and if you start with a principle of human scepticism entitled 'Higher Criticism' then you end inevitably with an unreliable Bible.

The difference is that we, on our part, have the explicit words of Christ and of the apostles on our side and we have also the explicit testimony of the church's most trusted spokesmen throughout nineteen hundred years of her history. They, for their part, have little more than their own subjective theories as to how the Bible came into existence. The Higher Critical movement as a whole has been guilty of contradicting the explicit Word of God and should now be abandoned.

Interestingly enough, we have an academic witness to this very assertion. I refer to the recent conversion to Christ of a brilliant Bultmannian scholar named Eta Linnemann. Dr Linnemann was for years a scholar working with Rudolph Bultmann and other eminent New Testament scholars, as they are called. She was a member of the Society for New Testament Studies - a highly prestigious society - and was appointed as Professor of New Testament at Philipps University, Marburg in Germany. She was a woman who rose very high in the Critical circles of this present generation.

But Dr Linnemann later had a deep spiritual experience which led her to see that her 'Historical-Critical' theology was a lie and that God's Word is truth.

In 1978 she literally threw her own highly rated books into the waste paper bin, resigned her professorship and went to the Far East as a Bible Institute teacher. She has recently written a book as a humble Christian and says she is very conscious that her previous teaching was sinful and that she was one of the 'blind leading the blind'. She is now eager to warn others away from the precipice of that error that she had fallen into herself. Her book appeared in 1990 under the title 'Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? Reflections of a Bultmannian turned Evangelical'.

This remarkable occurrence in the providence of God brings to our attention what is one of the most central lessons to be learned from the whole episode of the Higher Critical and Liberal movement from its inception to the present day. It is this, that the most brilliant minds cannot understand the Bible unaided by the Holy Spirit.

It was the sin and tragedy of the Higher Critics that they did not approach the Bible in the correct way. When men come to the Scriptures with some ready-made theory of their own, or when they suppose that they can pontificate on the meaning of Scripture without first bending their knee before God for his gracious teaching, they automatically disqualify themselves for that grace of illumination which is dispensable to the Bible student and to the Bible scholar. It is all too evident from the writings of Higher Critics that they did not excel in this virtue of self-abasement in the presence of Holy Scripture. For their arrogance they are chargeable with serious guilt
."

Final instalment in a few days but I would just add that in my observation of many Christians (including myself) that the awakening experience of Dr Linnemann is what they experience when they leave off what the world is telling them and, instead, trust the Word of God in every respect, including the straight-forward reading of Genesis 1.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 3 of 5)

This is the third instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992. As you read, bring to mind the thinking you encounter when dealing with Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on Genesis 1:

"There were these two main elements of major difference and emphasis in the new view of revelation. First, the history and religion of Israel were now regarded as a thing which had progressed by natural evolution and was shaped specifically by the eighth-century prophets. Secondly, revelation was redefined as a subjective phenomenon. The Bible, they said, is a record of God's revelation but is not identical with the revelation. The lines were now drawn, and as time went on this new view became progressively entrenched in the academic circles of our country.

In 1889 another Liberal book entitled 'Lux Mundi' came out. This was a collection of essays by several Oxford men and confessed to be an 'attempt to put the Catholic faith into its right relation to modern intellectual and moral problems'. It was to have a far-reaching influence in this country. Its new emphasis was on the implications, as they supposed, of the Incarnation upon the Person of Christ.

The theory went like this: When Christ endorses the Old Testament Scriptures, he is speaking from the standpoint of a Jew, and as a man. The Incarnation, they said, involved Christ in self-emptying (in Greek, kenosis) and therefore his knowledge while on earth was natural and fallible. So what was emerging was not simply a different view now of the history of Israel but a new attitude to the very person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The view then could be summarised like this: The Jews had a mistaken idea that the Old Testament was verbally inspired and inerrant. Christ endorsed this mistaken idea because through his Incarnation he took on human infirmity and ignorance. The Christian church in previous centuries had also ignorantly taken over this same view of an inspired and infallible Bible from the Jews and from Christ. But now mature nineteenth-century man with his scientific knowledge knew better than Christ or the Jews, and was therefore in a position to reject the old theory of verbal inspiration. Man was now in a condition in which he could seek to find the abiding 'principles' of truth by a rigorous application of the 'critical method'. Incidentally, S. T. Coleridge, the poet, had had a similar view earlier in the century, but now this theory was to become very widely held.

In a sense, 'Lux Mundi' only said what many had been saying a little before this date but its massive influence lay in its being a statement made by men of learning and prestige, and because of the clarity with which the book was written. It was to set the stage for later attacks upon the Person of our blessed Lord himself, such as Adolph Harnack's 'What is Christianity?'.

Jesus' life was now stripped of the miraculous and the supernatural. 'Jesus,' they said, 'never spoke of any kind of creed'! The next step was that of the dismal era in which men went out on a 'Quest' for the 'historical Jesus'.

I have spent some time speaking about the details of what happened a century ago because that era was the turning point which led to the chaotic ignorance of Christian doctrine and Christian religion in this country.

We need not hesitate to say, surely, that the Higher Critical movement was guilty in the way it acted. It was not above making claims which were unreliable and irresponsible. Let me give one or two examples of this.

First, the leading scholars of this new school were fond of talking about 'the assured results' of the new criticism. But that was a complete myth. The fact is that the so called 'experts' could hardly agree on anything among themselves. That is what made it so hard for orthodox scholars in Princeton in America, and in this country, to write what might be called a definitive and final answer to their novel assertions. The critics were for ever altering their positions and shifting their ground. This is not my view only. It is the confession of men who were basically sympathetic to the critics themselves
."

More around the middle of the week.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 2 of 5)

This is the second instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992. As the instalments unfold I suggest you bring to mind the thinking you encounter when dealing with Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on Genesis 1. Instalment two commences herewith:

"II. A Survey of the Higher Criticism shows it was Guilty of Undermining Confidence in the Scriptures

The year of noticeable change in Britain apparently was 1860. Before then it had been in Germany only that the Higher Critical movement received acceptance amongst a large number. But events in Britain were to alter public opinion in favour of the Higher Criticism. One influence was the publication of Darwin's 'Origin of Species' in 1859. Then in 1860 came a book entitled 'Essays and Reviews'. This comprised seven essays. The essay by Benjamin Jowett entitled 'On the Interpretation of Scripture' gave special offence even after it was modified at the suggestion of the poet Tennyson. But Jowett's essay shows a typically low view of the Bible.

It is difficult for us to understand, perhaps, how prominent churchmen at that time were developing attitudes to Scripture which were so much at variance with the church's dogma concerning an infallible Bible. But it is necessary for us to understand something of the change that was coming and I give one example drawn from 'Essays and Reviews'.

Frederick Temple, who was Headmaster of Rugby School and later Archbishop of Canterbury, in his essay, used this misleading comparison to illustrate the nature of God's revelation to mankind. He compared the human race to a colossal man who went through three stages: childhood. youth and then manhood. According to Frederick Temple, God adapts his teaching to mankind at each stage of man's development. In the childhood of the human race, therefore, God reveals to mankind how to live by laws. In the youth of mankind God taught us to live by examples but now that we have come to our manhood as a race, God teaches us by principle.

In the Scriptures, he says, are to be sought these principles by which nineteenth-century mature man is to live. If 'careful criticism' should 'prove that there have been occasional interpolation and forgeries in that Book the result need not be unwelcomed. The teaching of the Bible remains unaffected by any changes in the idea of inspiration which present knowledge necessitates'.

By 1861 'Essays and Reviews' had already passed into its tenth edition and was having a widespread and harmful influence on the attitude of churchmen in this country and elsewhere.

In 1862, Bishop J. W. Colenso of Natal, South Africa, produced his notorious book 'The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua Critically Examined'. He rejected Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and pronounced the Bible to be no infallible book. He then used a phrase which Professor F. D Maurice, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge some years later, had used and which was to become a favourite with Liberals for decades to come. The Bible may not be described as being the Word of God but may be allowed simply to contain the Word of God.

In 1881 William Robertson Smith, Professor, I am afraid I have to say. in the Free Church of Scotland College in Aberdeen, brought out his book 'The Old Testament in the Jewish Church'. This was to mark a new era. Smith was popularising Old Testament German criticism. Following the notorious German critics Graf and Wellhausen, Smith gave wholehearted support to their critical approach to the Scriptures and to their theory that Israel's religion came not by divine and supernatural revelation but by gradual process of evolution. Smith had to leave his post in the Free Church of Scotland and he took a Professorship in the University of Cambridge. But his influence lingered on in Scotland and did further harm.

He gave popular lectures in Edinburgh and Glasgow to large audiences of lay people, and in the short space of fifteen months 'The Old Testament in the Jewish Church' sold six thousand five hundred copies. It is astonishing to us to realise that he was arguing that the new approach to Scripture could be carried out in a way fully consistent with the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms of the Puritans! We know now looking back from our point of view that this optimism was misguided and ludicrous.

It is important for us to grasp that an entirely novel view of revelation had been that God had deposited his mind in a Book and that the words of this Book as originally given were verbally reliable. But the new view was that revelation was something subjective. They said that revelation was God revealing himself to persons in their own subconscious mind. Consequently, the Bible was now said to be, not God's revelation itself, but only a record of that revelation to man. But since it is a record given by men of God's revelation it contains verbal and historical errors.

So the new view of revelation was not that it was something objective but subjective. The Bible, in other words, was now to be considered not as an infallible Book, but as something less than that. Least of all, they said, was it to be thought of as teaching a set of theological propositions.

This note needs to be made very clear here. W. R. Smith was everywhere recognised as a man of remarkable brilliance and indeed genius, and because this attitude to Scripture and revelation was to become the general one from that day to this in most academic circles, we cannot too clearly inform ourselves as to the origins of this changed attitude
."

More in a few days.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney.

In my previous blog I alleged many Sydney Episcopalians (Anglican) have adopted a Higher Criticism approach to Genesis. In five instalments I am reproducing a speech given by Maurice Roberts at the May 16, 1992, centenary meeting of the Bible League in England. He called his speech "The Guilt of Higher Criticism". As you work through the four instalments over the next week keep in mind the responses you get from Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on the issue of Origins. The words of Maurice Roberts commence here:

"We have come here today to thank God for one hundred years of faithful testimony to Holy Scripture made by the Bible League, which was started on May 3rd 1892. Not many religious organisations manage to adhere for one hundred years to their principles. But by the grace of God the Bible League has done so. All praise and honour be to Almighty God for that.

I wish to take as my subject today the theme 'The Guilt of the Higher Critical Movement'. In the course of my remarks I shall, of course, be positive as well as negative. But I take the subject I have announced because I feel profoundly that the Higher Critics have perpetrated a great crime on the church and, indeed, on the world. Their influence has, from the standpoint of the present day, been a decidedly harmful and a negative one. I am prepared to believe that not all of them may have meant to be negative. But I am entirely convinced that one hundred years of their ascendency in the church in this land (to look no further afield) has been little short of catastrophic. As we look at the average pulpit today we are reminded at once of the words of the great prophets when referring to the false teachers of their day:

'The prophets shall become wind and the word is not in them' (Jer. 5:13).

The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart' (Jer. 14:14).

'Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord' (Jer. 23:1).

'0 my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths' (Isa. 3:12)

In the light of such Scripture I am bound to say that we cannot but look on the whole Liberal and Higher Critical movement as a guilty backsliding away from God. More than that, it has been, I believe, a movement of apostasy. And the tragedy is that it has had a most corrosive influence on the life of the church and of society as a whole. It has taught our nation to have low views of Christ and of the gospel. It has taught congregations to condone false doctrine. It has taught preachers to speak falsehoods in the name of the Lord. All of this is evident enough to any reader of the current religious press. As I see it, there is great guilt lying at the door of those who, one hundred years ago and more, advanced these Higher Critical theories and who introduced them into the church of Jesus Christ.

I. The Higher Critical Movement has been Guilty of Rejecting the Testimony of the Church to the Infallibility of the Bible for the previous 1900 years.

A century ago Dr W. Sanday, himself an eminent British scholar but one sympathetic to the Higher Critical movement, could frankly admit that the early church fathers were all unanimous in their view that the Bible is inspired and entirely trustworthy: 'Testimonies,' he said, 'to the general doctrine of Inspiration could be multiplied to almost any extent; but there are some which go further and point to an "inspiration" which might be described as "verbal"; nor does this idea a come in tentatively and by degrees, but almost from the very first' (Inspiration, p. 34).

This is easily verified by reference to the church Fathers. I give just a few brief examples to show that our view and, I may say, the Bible League's view of the holy Scriptures as verbally inspired and inerrant, was the view of the early church:

Origen stated: 'The Holy Spirit was co-worker with the Evangelists in their composition of the gospel, and that therefore lapse of memory, error or falsehood was impossible to them.' [On Matt. 16:12; and John 6:18].

Irenaeus, a pupil of Polycarp, affirmed 'The Scriptures are perfect, seeing they are spoken by God's Word and by his Spirit (Adv. Haer. 11.28).

Augustine said he 'firmly believes that no one of their authors has erred in anything in writing'. This was the universally held view of the great martyrs, theologians, writers and preachers of the early church (Ep. ad Hier., xxxii.3).

And so it was, too, at the Reformation.

Let me give one or two direct quotations from our Reforming fathers:

(i) Luther declares that the whole of the Scriptures are to be ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and therefore cannot err (Works, St Louis, xix, 305).

(ii) Calvin says that the Scriptures are to be received by us with the same reverence which we give to God 'because they emanated from him alone, and are mixed with nothing human' (Inst. 1:18, and Commentaries on Romans 15, etc.).

(iii) Samuel Rutherford states that the Scriptures are a more sure word than a direct oracle from heaven (Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, p. 373).

(iv) Richard Baxter declares 'All that the holy writers have recorded is true' (Works, XV.65).

(v) Westminster Confession: 'All [the sixty-six books of the Bible] are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.' 'The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.' The Confession adds later: 'The Old Testament in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek .. . are immediately inspired of God.'

This view was held by the medieval church also, and to this the Council of Trent bears witness when it says that God is the author of Scripture. Even the first Vatican Council of 1870, which made the odious dogma of papal infallibility (and is therefore anything but the mouthpiece of 'Fundamentalism'!) could say this: 'The church holds the books of the Old and New Testament to be sacred and canonical . . . because . . . , written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author'.

This, then, was the church's doctrine of the Bible till the Higher Critical movement came along in the nineteenth century. Then everything altered in the colleges, universities and, I fear, in most of the pulpits of this country. It was a mighty and a massive decline from the church's attitude to Scripture during the previous nineteen hundred years. It is something, therefore, for which the Higher Critics must be deemed culpable and guilty
."

More in a few days.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Defective Gospel.

One serious outworking of retreat from faith in the Word of God in Genesis by the Episcopalian (Anglican) Diocese of Sydney is to regard Jesus Christ as Saviour to the exclusion of all else of his Offices and Nature.

Though these people claim to be evangelical they expose themselves to be illegitimately claiming the title - being nothing more than offspring of Higher Critics of earlier centuries.

Go back to C. H. Spurgeon of the Nineteenth Century and you find him dealing with the same type of infidelity in the Downgrade Controversy. I have previously provided some excerpts of works addressing the Downgrade Controversy and C. H. Spurgeon's response. Today I provide a small extract of "Charles Haddon Spurgeon: A Witness for Today" written by the most respected Iain H. Murray in the January 1992 edition of Banner of Truth.

In one part, Iain Murray said this of Spurgeon:

"Throughout his preaching there runs a concern that God should be known and worshipped - as Creator, as Judge, as Sovereign, as Lawgiver as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had been given to see something of the majesty and grace of God".

He goes on shortly after to say:

"There were those who said, 'We believe in the gospel but we don't believe it is necessary to believe everything in the Bible and we doubt very much whether God, who sent His Son, is a God who would do the things which parts of the Bible say he does'. Spurgeon burned with jealousy for the truth of God. He could say with Paul, 'Let God be true and every man a liar'. He knew that if men were allowed to divide the gospel from the Scripture then they would soon have no gospel left. The gospel can only be seen in the context of creation, and law, and judgment; it is only in the light of those facts that we can understand our need of the gospel. Sin is transgression of the law; Christ died for transgressors of that holy law. Spurgeon saw clearly what so many were failing to see, there is no gospel unless we can depend upon the truth revealed about God himself".

I believe I can assert with confidence that those with whom Spurgeon was contending and those of whom I speak in the Sydney Diocese, and there are many, you only need introduce to a conversation the concept of Jesus Christ as Creator and you are met with hesitancy followed by grudging acknowledgement. For these people the gospel is so narrow it is confined to nothing more than the Son of God crucified and raised to life to give them (and others) eternal life. Completely lacking is the glory of God in Father, Son and Holy Spirit and His Person.

Such lack is not the full gospel and I dare to say a selfish, man centred account of the work of God in Jesus Christ. This is a sorry maligning of the glory of God in order to elevate man.

For the interest of those who haven't seen them elsewhere I provide herewith a link to helpful citings of some of C. H. Spurgeon's comments on Evolution.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, November 4, 2012

When Orthodoxy is Not Enough.

With some discussion by elements within the Episcopalian (Anglican) Diocese of Sydney this year lending support to a step away from 'Inerrancy of Scripture' I thought it needful to add to my earlier words of criticism at such a move by quoting Geoffrey Thomas in the August/September issue of Banner of Truth on "When Orthodoxy is Not Enough."

Thomas says:

"What do we understand by orthodoxy? We mean that the Bible is the supernaturally-inspired self-revelation of God. Its human authors were so controlled by the Holy Spirit that, not as mere automata but as individuals, each with his own background and personality, they recorded the very thoughts and words which God wanted them to record. Therefore the Bible is inerrant in its original manuscripts, the 'autographs', and by a wonderful providence God watched over his revelation as it passed through the hands of numerous fallible copyists. So we can say as we hold the Bible in our hands today that this is the Word of God, the one and only infallible rule for faith and conduct."

Yes, only some within the Diocese are prepared to walk away from Inerrancy of Scripture but there is host in the background who have already embarked upon a path of reinterpreting the orthodox reading of the Word of God in Genesis 1.

As Geoffrey Thomas says elsewhere in his article "The antithesis of orthodoxy is heresy."

Sam Drucker

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Error Labouring to Defend and Secure Itself.

Biblical Creationists grieve when so-called evangelicals declare among themselves and to the world that they put the Word of God above all else but when it comes to the Word of God on Origins these self proclaimed evangelicals employ subtle and numerous devices to escape the conviction of a straight forward reading of the Word of God on the account of Creation.

The fallacy was once again brought to my mind in reading John Flavel's (c. 1628-1691)
"Observations of Error."

Observation 6 for Flavel reads:

"The great patrons of error do above all things labour to gain countenance to their errors from the written word. To this end they manifestly wrest and rack the scriptures to make them subservient to their opinions; not impartially studying the scriptures first, and forming their notions and opinions according to them. But they bring their erroneous opinions to the scriptures, and then, with all imaginable art and sophistry, wire-draw and force the scriptures to countenance and legitimate their opinions."

The great heresies and controversies which, historically, have destabilized the Church bear the same characteristics as to means employed by their proponents to gain acceptance. This is no less the case for Sydney Anglicans (Episcopalians) and their prized theological seminary, Moore College, seeking to separate themselves from Reformed doctrine on Origins for fear of man.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In Whom is Your Trust?

Genesis Ch. 34 describes some tragic events. Jacob and his retinue had arrived and settled near the city of Shechem in Canaan following his departure from his uncle Laban in Paddan Aram.. Jacob's daughter Dinah went out to visit women inhabitants of the land. She encountered Shechem son of Hamor, ruler of the region, and was raped by Shechem. Acting contrary to many rapists, Shechem's heart turned toward Dinah and sought to marry her. He obtained the support of his father who approached Jacob and his sons for permission to marry Dinah. Here, a trap was set by the sons of Jacob whereupon they convinced Shechem and the men of his tribe to undergo circumcision. This they did but while weakened by pain from the circumcision they were attacked and killed by Simeon and Levi, brothers of Dinah. Among those killed were Hamor and Shechem.

It is all an unhappy chapter in the history of Jacob i.e. Israel. It is a double-barreled experience of bitterness for Jacob. What can we learn from it? We have to go back further.

After responding to the call of the LORD, leaving his people and his father's household in Haran, it was in Bethel, in Canaan, where Jacob's grandfather Abram (Abraham) pitched his tent, built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD (Gen 12).

It was further south, in Beersheba ,where Abraham later called again on the LORD the Eternal God after making a treaty with Abimelech (Gen. 21:22ff).

It was in Beersheba where Isaac, son of Abraham, experienced an appearance of the LORD who declared Himself the God of his father Abraham. Isaac pitched his tent there, built an altar and called on the name of the LORD.

After deceitfully receiving the blessing of Isaac originally intended for Esau, Jacob, son of Isaac, fled to Paddan Aram. Setting out from Beersheba for Paddan Aram in Haran, Jacob arrived at Bethel. Alone and his life at a low ebb he settled down for the night. During the night Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway reaching from the earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. There, above the stairway, stood the LORD who said "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac." It was here the LORD reaffirmed the promise of blessing given to Abraham. In the morning, Jacob took the stone upon which he had rested his head and set it up as a pillar, poured oil on top of it and made this vow "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and all that you give me I will give you a tenth." (Gen. 28:10ff)

After arrival in Paddan Aram Jacob spent many years being taken advantage of by his uncle Laban. Jacob's life was again at a low ebb. He was spoken to by the LORD saying "Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you." (Gen 31:3)

Jacob took up his family and all he had acquired and set out for the land of his fathers. But he had yet to encounter his brother Esau who had previously declared an intent to kill him and who he now learned was on the way to meet him accompanied by 400 men. In desperate straits again Jacob prayed "God of my father Abraham, God of Isaac, O LORD" calling on the promise of God to protect him for doing what the LORD had called upon him to do.

That night, alone after having sent his family and all that he had ahead of him, Jacob wrestled with God, sought and received a blessing and was here called Israel (struggles with God). The place of blessing he called Peniel (face of God) (Gen. 32:22ff)

Blessing indeed followed for the next day Esau arrived without acrimony. After courteous exchange the two separated and Jacob continued on his way. However, here is where tragic events unfold. Instead of going on to the land of his fathers, as the LORD had directed, Jacob tarried in the land of Succoth and Shechem, even buying a plot of land to pitch his tent within sight of the city of Shechem. He built an altar there and called the place El Elohe Israel (possibly mighty is the God of Israel) Gen. 33:17ff)

What Jacob had done was to enter partly into the land of promise but not go on to where his fathers Abraham and Isaac had dwelt and here they had called on name of the LORD viz. Bethel and Beersheba. To not go all the way with the LORD exposed Jacob and his family to the ways of people who are not the people of God. The consequences were tragic. Dinah and her brothers took life into their own hands. Their judgment was poor as was Jacob's.

Christians can learn from Jacob. Recall that time when you were, so to speak, prostrate and calling on the name of the LORD for forgiveness and salvation for you were doomed without Him. You promised to give all of yourself to Him and follow Him wherever He was to lead you.

Is that how it is with you now? Is it? Or have you, like Jacob, gone only part way with the LORD? Have you established yourself within sight of the world and its ways? Having, as it were, a foot in two camps? If you have, you will live below your privilege. You will be entangled with the world to the detriment of joy of living and serving the LORD.

There are those who trust not fully in the LORD and His Word. They have held on to the world and its philosophy on Origins and with that go part way with the LORD. This is a corruption which will bring fruit in keeping with its works. It will not place the Church - the house of God - at its promised position to be richly blessed with every spiritual blessing. It will not have the LORD working for it in a clear and unmistakable way. Instead it will be left to employ its own devices with destructive consequences.

Remember, it was the prostrate 'worm Jacob' who had the greater influence with the LORD than 'prince Israel'.

Trust and obey the LORD. It was a lesson learned the hard way by Jacob. Let us learn from Jacob's sorry sojourn near Shechem.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is the Lord's Arm Too Short?

Musing on a couple of passages of Scripture I have come to conclude all the more the appalling sell-out of the Lord's glory that is Theistic Evolution.

Consider for a moment what Gideon sought of God (Judges 6:36-40) before venturing upon a major mission to rescue Israel from the hands of the Midianites and Amalekites. He asked God to show that He would save Israel in the impending battle and the way God was to show His intention was to undertake two activities which could not be mistaken to result from natural cause.

The first activity was that the fleece put out by Gideon overnight was to be covered with dew in the morning while the ground around it was to be dry. The second activity, on the following day, was that the fleece put out by Gideon overnight was to be dry in the morning while the ground around it was to be covered with dew.

Those very results happened and were a demonstration to Gideon that the God who is able to do all things, to Whom all creation is subject, was on the side of Israel in the impending battle. What was impossible for man, what did not happen by natural process, was a small thing for God. God was able order the elements for dew in one small area but the elements be constrained beyond. Then the elements were constrained in that small area while widespread beyond. This does not happen naturally.

The second incident involved the Philistines under plague for taking into their possession the Ark of the Covenant between God and Israel (1 Samuel 6:12).

To know whether the plague was from God, the Philistines devised a plan of placing the Ark of the Covenant on a cart, to which would be hitched two cows, each of which had been nursing calves but were to be separated from the calves. Neither cow was to have ever been yoked before. If the cows walked, without deviation, along the road all the way to Beth Shemesh then it was affirmation that it was God behind the plague and sought the Ark of the Covenant back with Israel.

My friends, the order of this life is such that two cows which had never been yoked i.e. never placed in the controlled environment of pulling a cart, never having worked with another cow in such joint exercise and each leaving behind their nursing calf and traverse a set path to an unfamiliar territory, were never going to go direct to Beth Shemesh. Disorder would have been the order but this was not to be. The cows were aware they were being separated from their calves for they lowed all the way but something, more appropriately Someone, was overruling their actions. Whereas their inclination was to deviate back to their calves these cows steadfastly made their way along the path to Beth Shemesh.

Here was a demonstration of the God who created life and has control over life. It was the God of Creation, the God who chose Israel to be His people. God demonstrates here He is not a God of chance and both Gideon and the Philistines want to know this. They sought to eliminate any chance (randomness) in their contemplation of the God in their presence, Who was either for them or against them.

Note the precision and expediency of God in demonstrating His Will and His bearing testimony to Himself in these two incidents now recalled. This is not the God who would use a process riddled with disease, suffering, biological dead-ends and death to create life nor is He satisfied with confusion of His works with chance (random) processes. No better is He revealed thus but in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

No, at all times God reveals His glory which all creation is to acknowledge and praise. As the Lord God reveals His arm of strength Theistic Evolutionists withhold their arm of praise.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clarion Call to the Church.

As has been said here before, the tendency for the Church to absorb into its belief that which is opposed to the direct teaching of the Word of God and that which is nothing more than acquiescing to the world on the subject of Origins is a slow working poison bound to bring destruction.

Those who 'ring alarm bells' within the Church are sidelined and kept as quiet as possible so that calm may prevail. All the while the poison takes its toll.

It would be better for the Church to awaken to the alarm call of those Divinely appointed clarions however unsophisticated they may seem for, though they bring discomfort, they are in step with notables of the past including C. H. Spurgeon who, in 1883 said:

"When a fire is kindled in a city we do not say coldly, ' Yonder is a great fire, I pray God it will do no harm.' In times of public defection we are not to preach tame lectures of contemplative divinity, or fight with ghosts of antiquated errors, but to oppose with all earnestness the growing evils of the world, whatever it may cost us. If men valued truth as they do their goods and their houses they would not regard error with such cool contentment. The cant of the present day is, 'Charity, Charity.' As if it were not the truest charity to grow indignant with that which ruins souls. It is not uncharitable to warn men against poisonous adulterations of their food, or invasions of their rights; and surely it cannot be more uncharitable to put them upon their guard against that which will poison or rob their souls. Lukewarmness of love to truth is the real evil to be deprecated in these times. We have new doctrines among us, full of practical mischief, and against these there is a need to cry out lest they gain so great a head that both church and state should be set on fire. Lord, arouse thy watchmen, and bid them arouse all thy saints, for the times are full of danger! "

Awake Oh Sleeper, you sleep the sleep of death.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Homosexuality and Anglicans

I have previously made reference to A Restless Faith and the erroneous conclusion the writer reaches with respect to the same-sex marriage debate and the matter of homosexuality in general.

I have also remarked that the logic used by that writer to arrive at his conclusion is valid. It is just that his erroneous assumption to distrust the biblical account of the global flood in the time of Noah permits his otherwise correct logical process to lead him to further error on the matter of homosexuality.

A little background checking reveals that writer to have connections with the former Rector of St Saviour's Anglican Church, Redfern, now Bishop of Gippsland, Victoria, who created a furore in Anglican (or Episcopalian) circles in Australia earlier this year in ordaining a man living in a homosexual relationship.

If you care to read the basis of that decision, take a look at his Synod address.

You will note his lifting of two portions of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:18, 20) without considering them in the context of the whole Bible. That is a basic error.

What is interesting in connection with the Keith Mascord blog is that the Bishop of Gippsland compounds his own error in a similar way to Keith Mascord - by misinterpreting Scripture, science and history. I quote the Bishop of Gippsland:

"We all acknowledge that the church can never read the Bible in the same way once it acknowledged that Galileo was right. The world is round, not flat, despite what those who first penned the words of the Bible thought and assumed. It took the church a long time to acknowledge this, and in the name of orthodoxy, it treated Galileo rather shabbily along the way.

Here lies an exegetical parallel for our present purpose. Because of recent new understanding, we now all know that same-sex attracted people are not heterosexual people who have made a perverse choice about how they express their sexuality. They simply are what they are. We might like to argue about whether this is how life should or should not be, but that will not change the way it is. And we have to respond to what is
."

It amazes me that someone with so little knowledge of the Bible, science and history could be appointed Bishop of Gippsland and I pity the poor parishioners and some clergy for who they have supposedly having pastoral oversight of them. A fair record of events concerning Galileo can be found here and an historically accurate assessment of the disconnection of the Galileo controversy and "flat earth" allegations can be found here.

To those in the Church who say the debate over Origins is not an important issue I want you to see just where an erroneous understanding of Scripture, science and history leads you. And don't go stroking your chest saying you are arguing against people such as John McIntyre, Bishop of Gippsland and Keith Mascord, former lecturer at Moore Theological College on the subject of homosexuality. You assert those two men are being influenced by the thinking of the world on the matter instead of Scripture yet you hypocrites are being influenced by the world on the matter of Origins instead of Scripture.

Those two men are at least consistent in their error. You are inconsistent!

Sam Drucker

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Roots of Compromise

Earlier blogs here have commented on the emergence and affect of Higher Criticism and Liberal Theology on the Church including their inroads into evangelical churches. We have also blogged extensively on how the current world view on Origins has impacted the Reformed Church's interpretation of the Word of God.

While this writer leans to Calvinist doctrine (because of a little more weight for it in the Word of God over other doctrinal positions) I cannot avoid noting some traps Calvinists can fall into by going too far with (or corrupting) Calvinist doctrine. I am aware there are Calvinists and there are Calvinists but one who caught my eye this week was Robert S. Candlish, D.D. (1806-1873) of Scotland who succeeded Thomas Chalmers in the chair of divinity at the New College, Edinburgh in 1841.

In 1842 Dr Candlish published a work on Genesis. I don't have that version but I do have the 1868 version inscribed "New Edition - Carefully Revised". I suspect some alteration from the early edition occurred due to Charles Darwin's work "On the Origin of the Species"etc., having been in circulation about nine years.

I provide a few quotes from Dr Candlish and readers will see the roots of Darwin's influence on the interpretation of the Word of God.

Right at the outset, on page 1, Dr Candlish signals an intent to lift the Word of God out of the reach of science and deal, as much as can be allowed, with the spiritual and moral elements:

"The view taken in this Lecture I hold to be important, not only in its practical and spiritual bearings, on which I chiefly dwell, but also in relation to some of the scientific questions which have been supposed to be here involved. It lifts, as I think, the divine record out of and above these human entanglements, and presents it, apart from all discoveries of successive ages, in the broad and general aspect which it was designed from the first and all along to wear, as unfolding the Creator's mind in the orderly subordination of the several parts of his creation to one another, with special reference to his intended dealings with the race of man. On this account I ask attention to what otherwise might appear to some to be an irrelevant metaphysical conceit."

On page 13, Dr Candlish admits of a form of Calvinism which asserts an odious view of the character of God concerning evil. Not only that, it lays the foundation for Christians to permit a monstrous and demeaning process of Creation ascribed to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

"And if now, my Christian brother, the God who made all things, evil as well as good, - sickness, pain. poverty, distress, - is your Saviour; if he is ever seen by you. and his voice is heard telling you, even of that which presently afflicts you, that he made it as he made you, - how complete is your confidence."

On page 18, Dr Candlish expresses admission of a serious assault on the credibility of the long held Christian account of Origins:

"This divine record of creation, remarkable for the most perfect simplicity, has been sadly complicated and embarrassed by the human theories and speculations with which it has unhappily become entangled. To clear the way, therefore, at the outset, to get rid of many perplexities, and leave the narrative unencumbered for pious and practical uses, let its limited design be fairly understood, and let certain explanations be frankly made. In the first place, the object of this inspired cosmogony, or account of the world's origin, is not scientific but religious."

As if to acknowledge the Uniformitarian beliefs of his predecessor at New College, Dr Candlish says on page 19:

"What history of ages previous to that era this globe may have engraved in its rocky bosom, revealed or to be revealed by the explosive force of its central fires Scripture does not say. What countless generations of living organisms teemed in the chaotic waters, or brooded over the dark abyss, it is not within the scope of the inspiring Spirit to tell." All that contrary to the narrative of the Creation account in Genesis 1, ably supported by Exodus 20:11.

And later, on page 20, he reaffirms his intent to abandon historical rendering for elements seemingly out of reach of science:

"Our present concern, therefore, is with the moral and spiritual aspect of this sacred narrative."

The irony of all that is that Dr Candlish provides a helpful commentary on later events contained within Genesis, even holding to a global flood which destroyed the world that was, and upholding the long life span of early man.

There was no cause for Dr Candlish to give ground to Darwin's science. His record of dealing with the science of his day, however, provides us today with a helpful background to why the Church is in the sorry state it is today.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Unlively and Spirit Quenching Bilgewater

I recall reading somewhere of a person stating on a blogspot that his reason for leaving the Sydney Anglican (Episcopalian) Diocese was the widespread equivocation within the Diocese over just what a Bible passage was saying. In essence, many in the Diocese would assert more than one intention could be derived from a given passage.

That is no help whatsoever to a person wanting to know God and the will of God for those who love Him.

If one was to seek a current day example of the concern expressed by that blogger one need go no further than to take a look here.

What you will find there are two instalments on the subject of literary genre from a current lecturer at Moore Theological College. Each instalment is weighted with the same degree of Spirit quenching content.

Why would a theological lecturer dish up this stuff? What good is it to Christians in their walk with their Lord and Saviour? I firmly assert that it has no positive worth. Instead it is destructive. It is a path not to be taken. Many quoted sources are God haters and offer no help to understand the Word of God.

I urge readers not to give any time to the blogs other than to quickly note the quicksand that it is to a lively faith and for trust in the clear message and will of God in His Word.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, October 7, 2012

THE INFALLIBILITY OF SCRIPTURE. (Part 2)

Following is the second and final instalment of an address on the subject of Infallibility of Scripture given by the late Professor John Murray (1898-1975), former Professor of Systematic Theology, first at Princeton then Westminster Theological Seminary . The address was given at the Preaching Conference in Leicester on 3 July 1962.


The Witness of Scripture

What is this witness? Certain passages are of particular relevance. Paul says, 'All scripture is God-breathed' (2 Tim. 3: 16) and Peter, 'For prophecy was not brought of old time by the will of man, but as borne by the Holy Spirit men spoke from God' (2 Pet. 1: 21). In both passages it is the divine authorship and the character resulting therefrom that are emphasized. Scripture is in view in both passages. Even in 2 Pet. 1: 21 this is apparent from the preceding verse which defines 'prophecy' as 'prophecy of scripture', or, as we might say. inscripturated prophecy. These two texts have closer relationship to one another than we might be disposed to think. For in the usage of Scripture the Word of God, the breath of God, and the Spirit of God are closely related. And when Paul says 'all scripture is God-breathed', he is saying nothing less than that all Scripture is God's speech, God's voice invested with all the authority and power belonging to His utterance. Peter explains how what is given through the agency of men can be God's speech - 'as borne by the Holy Spirit men spoke
from God'.

We think also of the words of our Lord (Matt. 3: 18; John 10: 35). In both passages it is the inviolability of Scripture that is asserted.

There are not only these express passages. There is a mass of witness derived from appeal to Scripture in ways that imply its finality, its divine authority, and its equivalence to God's word or speech. For our Lord "Scripture says" is equivalent to "God says". And Paul, when referring to the body of Scripture committed to Israel can speak of it as "the oracles of God" (Rom. 3: 2).

Here then we have the verdict of Scripture. To avow any lower estimate is to impugn the witness of our Lord Himself and that is to assail the dependability and veracity of Him who is the truth (John 14: 6). And it is also to impugn the reliability of the Holy Spirit who is also the truth as well as the Spirit of truth (1 John 5: 6; John 16: 13). If we reject the witness of both to the character of that upon which we must rely for our knowledge of the whole content of faith and hope, then we have no foundation of veracity on which to rest. It was the foundation of all faith, confidence and certitude that the apostle appealed to when he said, 'Let God be true but every man a liar' (Rom. 3: 4). It is significant that he forthwith corroborated this truth by appeal to Scripture.

The Context of this Witness

The doctrine of the infallibility of Scripture is derived from the witness of Scripture. It is equally necessary to bear in mind that this witness is to be understood in the context of Scripture as a whole. Any doctrine severed from the total structure of revelation is out of focus. It is necessary to insist on this for two reasons.

First, it is possible to give formal confession to the infallibility of Scripture and yet belie this confession in dealing with it. The dogma of infallibility implies that Scripture is itself the revelatory Word of God, that it is the living and authoritative voice or speech of God. Unless we are arrested by that Word and summoned by it into His presence, unless we bow in reverence before that Word and accord to it the finality that belongs to it as God's oracular utterance, then our confession is only formal.

Second, unless we assess infallibility in the light of the data with which Scripture provides us, we shall be liable to judge infallibility by criteria to which Scripture does not conform. This is one of the most effective ways of undermining biblical infallibility.

The inspiration of Scripture involves verbal inspiration. If it did not carry with it the inspiration of the words, it would not be inspiration at all. Words are the media of communication. It is nothing less than verbal inspiration that Paul affirms when he says in 1 Cor. 2: 13, 'combining spiritual things with spiritual'. He is speaking of truths taught by the Spirit, as the preceding clauses indicate. But when we say 'words' we mean words in relationship, in grammatical and syntactical relationship, first of all, then, in the broader contextual relationship, and last of all in relation to the whole content and structure of revelation as deposited in Scripture. They are words with the meaning which Scripture, interpreted in the light of Scripture, determines. They are Spirit-inspired words in the sense in which they were intended by the Holy Spirit. This is to say that the sense and intent of Scripture is Scripture and not the meaning we may arbitrarily impose upon it.

When the Scripture uses anthropomorphic terms with reference to God and His actions, we must interpret accordingly and not predicate of God the limitations which belong to us men. When Scripture conveys truth to us by the mode of apocalyptic vision, we cannot find the truth signified in the details of the vision literalised. If Scripture uses the language of common usage and experience or observation, we are not to accuse it of error because it does not use the language of a particular science, language which few could understand and which becomes obsolete with the passing phases of scientific advancement. The Scripture does not make itself ridiculous by conforming to what pedants might require.

There are numerous considerations that must be taken into account derived from the study of Scripture data. And it is a capital mistake to think that the criteria of infallibility are those that must conform to our preconceived notions or to our arbitrarily adopted norms.

Conclusion

The doctrine of infallibility is not peripheral. What is at stake is the character of the witness which the Scripture provides for the whole compass of our faith. It is concerned with the nature of the only revelation which we possess respecting God's will for our salvation, the only revelation by which we are brought into saving encounter with Him who is God manifest in the flesh, the only revelation by which we may be introduced into that fellowship which is eternal life, and the only revelation by which we may be guided in that pilgrimage to the city which hath the foundations whose builder and maker is God. In a word the interests involved are those of faith, love and hope
."

When God, in Scripture, speaks straightforwardly of believers being born again in Jesus Christ and, along with other clear doctrinal issues, says that He created the heavens, the earth and the sea and all that is in them in six days and that a straightforward reading of the genealogy of Chronicles and Luke leans heavily toward that creation activity occurring only thousands of years ago then it is a denial of the Infallibility of Scripture to deny such doctrinal issues.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, October 4, 2012

THE INFALLIBILITY OF SCRIPTURE. (Part 1)

Infallibility or Inerrancy of Scripture has received attention of late so I thought I might provide, in two (2) instalments, an address given by the late Professor John Murray (1898-1975), former Professor of Systematic Theology, first at Princeton then Westminster Theological Seminary. The address was given at a Preaching Conference in Leicester on 3 July 1962. Part 1 follows herewith:

"Scripture as the Word of God has many attributes. But no one of these is more precious to the believer than infallibility. This attribute assures him of its stability and it imparts to him that certitude by which alone he can be stedfast in the faith once for all delivered to the saints. The doctrine of infallibility rests upon proper grounds and only as we examine these grounds can we properly understand its meaning and assess its significance.

The Warrant

When we say that Scripture is infallible, on what ground or by what authority do we make this confession? When we ask the question, we should realize how momentous is the confession. In this world in which sin and misery abound, in which error is rampant, in which it is so difficult to discover the truth about any complex situation, that there should be an entity in the form of a collection of documents of which we predicate infallibility is a fact with staggering implications. And so, when we ask the question of warrant, we are asking a question of the greatest moment. The authority must be as ultimate as the proposition is stupendous.

We say Scripture is infallible not because we can prove it to be infallible. The impossibility of proof lies on the face of Scripture. For example, how could we prove that the first chapter of Genesis is substantially true, not to speak of its being infallible? This chapter deals with the origin of created realities, and what collateral or independent evidence do we possess regarding the action by which
created entities began to be? We must not depreciate science. But science has to deal with existing realities, not with that which was antecedent to created existence. Or again, if we think of the third chapter of Genesis, who can prove that the events there recorded are true, or that it provides us with an infallible account of what is alleged to have occurred?

It is, of course, necessary to take account of what is our province and duty. It is our obligation to defend Scripture against allegations of error and contradiction. We can often show from the data of Scripture that the Scripture is consistent with itself. And we can also show that its representations are not contradicted by data derived from other authentic sources of information. Oftentimes, though we may not be able to demonstrate the harmony of Scripture, we are able to show that there is no necessary contradiction. There is ample place and scope for this type of defence in order to meet on the basis of all the data provided for us the charges which doubt and unbelief bring against
Scripture.

But the main point of interest now is that when we thus defend the Scripture we do not thereby prove its infallibility. We are indeed vindicating the authenticity of Scripture, authenticity without which it would be futile to maintain its infallibility. But we do not thereby prove its infallibility. For one thing there are areas of Scripture, and these the most important, in connection with which we are not able to engage even in the aforementioned type of defence or vindication. How could we prove that when Christ died upon the cross he expiated the sins of a countless number of lost men? How are we to prove that Christ after his ascension entered into the holy places at the right hand of the majesty in the heavens? It can be demonstrated that the Scripture so teaches but not that these things are true.

Thus, on the question of warrant for the proposition that Scripture is infallible, what are we to say? The only ground is the witness of Scripture to itself, to its own origin, character and authority.

This may seem an illegitimate way of supporting the proposition at issue. Are we not begging the question? We are seeking for the ground of the proposition that Scripture is infallible. And then we say: we believe this because the Scripture says so, which, in turn, assumes that we are to accept the verdict of Scripture. If we accept this verdict, we imply that its verdict is true, and not only so, but infallibly true if the verdict is to support the declaration that Scripture is infallible. This is the situation and we must frankly confess it to be so. It can be no otherwise in the situation that belongs to us in God's providential grace.

The Uniqueness of Scripture

Let us try to assess the situation in which we are placed. Apart from the Scriptures and the knowledge derived from them we today would be in complete darkness respecting the content of our Christian faith. We must not deceive ourselves as to the darkness and confusion that would be ours if there were no Bible. We depend upon the message of Scripture for every tenet of our faith, for every ray of redemptive light that illumines our minds, and for every ray of hope against the issues of time and eternity. Christianity for us today without the Bible is something inconceivable.

We are not presuming to limit God. He could have brought the revelation of his redemptive will by other means than that of Scripture. But the issue now is not what God could have done if he so pleased. The issue is what He has done. It is the de facto situation of God's providential ordering. And the upshot is that Scripture occupies an absolutely unique position. The case is not simply that Scripture is indispensable. Much else besides Scripture is indispensable in our actual situation. There is the witness of the church, there is the Christian tradition, and there is the mass of Christian literature. The fact is that Scripture as an entity, as a phenomenon, if you wish, is absolutely unique. We are deceiving ourselves and refusing to face reality if we think that we can maintain even the most attenuated Christian belief or hope without presupposing and acknowledging that absolute uniqueness belonging to Scripture as a collection of written documents. It is this absolute uniqueness that must be taken into account when we speak of accepting its verdict.

It may be objected: does not the foregoing position impinge upon what is central in our faith? Is not Christ, the Son of God incarnate. crucified, risen, exalted, and coming again, the Christian faith? Might it not even be objected that this emphasis gives to Scripture the place of God?

Of course, the Scripture is not God and to give Scripture the place of God would be idolatry. Of course, Christ is Christianity and saving relation to him as Lord and Saviour is the only hope of lost men.

But the absolute uniqueness of Scripture is not impaired. Scripture is unique, not because it takes the place of God, nor the place of Christ, but because of its relationship to God, to Christ, and to the Holy Spirit. It is unique because it is the only way whereby we come into relationship to God in the redemptive revelation of His grace and the only way whereby Christ in the uniqueness that belongs to Him as the Son of God incarnate, as the crucified, risen and ascended Redeemer comes within the orbit of our knowledge, faith, experience, and hope. We have no encounter with God, with Christ, and with the Holy Spirit in terms of saving and redeeming grace apart from Scripture. It is the only revelation to us of God's redemptive will. That is its uniqueness.

Here then is the conclusion proceeding from its uniqueness, its incomparable singularity in the situation that is ours in God's providence. If we do not accept its verdict respecting its own character or quality, we have no warrant to accept its verdict respecting anything else. If its witness respecting itself is not authentic, then by what warrant may we accept its witness on other matters? By reason of what Scripture is and means in the whole compass of Christian faith and hope we are shut up to what Scripture teaches respecting its origin, character and authority
."

Part 2 will follow in a few days.

Sam Drucker