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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ahaz and the Connect 09 Connection.

Immediately prior to the reign of King Hezekiah, Judah was under the rule of King Ahaz. While Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, his predecessor did not. Ahaz worshipped other gods even to the point of sacrificing his sons in the fire. Lucky Hezekiah that he didn't suffer the same fate! (actually, I don't believe that luck is a viable concept in the order of life)

So far devoid of faith in the LORD God was Ahaz that the circumstances of life he put down to the activity of other gods. 2 Chronicles 28: 22-23 describes an incident which typifies this situation. It reads: "In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, 'Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.' But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel."

Ahaz could not see that his earlier defeat at the hands of Aram was a punishment and even a test from the LORD God. It ought to have brought Ahaz to his knees in earnest repentance for his unfaithfulness to the LORD God. But no, as one of weak faith, Ahaz was impressed by the seeming capacity of the gods of Aram to triumph over the opponents of Aram. He went not to God but to those who were not God. This was to the downfall of Ahaz and to the downfall of all Israel.

Israel, into which we have been grafted, has repeated occasions of flagrant backsliding. It takes a special activity of the LORD God to give new life, an invigoration of faith. This occurs after an acknowledgement of debased condition, the prayers of repentance from the faithful remnant and faithful waiting on the LORD. It never comes from the activities of those who go after the ways of the world.

Sadly, we find the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney pursuing the latter course and expecting to "grow the church" through a strategy called Connect 09. The Diocese is 'kicking at the goads" because it has pursued much the same path as King Ahaz of Judah. Confronted by the eloquence and seeming strength of argument for a timescale for the earth contrary to the biblical chronology, ingrafted Israel has capitulated. On a broad scale it has taken on the long age god of the world because it seemed triumphant over the inspired Word of God. Having capitulated at this point it was ready, on many fronts, to bow the knee to Darwinism. This false god is also far removed from the revelation of the LORD God but in an absurd exercise in syncretism many in the Diocese have melded it to make a grotesque representation of the one true God.

Such is the sorry state of Israel as portrayed by the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney today. When its leaders should have stood firm on the Word of God and waited on the LORD God they buckled. Now a degenerate faith is the order of the day. On the basis of its afinity to King Ahaz the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney should be on its knees acknowledging, before the LORD, its sin of syncretism. It should be repenting of this sin. It should be waiting on the LORD to raise up leaders to lead the Diocese in triumph. Without this it goes up to battle in vain.

I think James Mellor Brown (1796? - 1867), Episcopalian Minister in England reasonably foreshadowed the present condition and direction of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney in his 1838 pamphlet entitled Reflections on Geology. He was dealing with the then novel long age proposition for the age of the earth.

"I am prepared to show that in this sense religion has much to fear from philosophy [i.e., natural philosophy or science], not its facts, but its theories. Whenever those theories invalidate the historical or the physical statements of Scripture; or even when they interfere with our sober and commonly received views of it, they are pernicious. They tend to unsettle men's minds as to the veracity of the Sacred Writings. They shake the confidence with which the simple and unlearned repose upon them. Simple minds feel unable to untwine those threads of error which they are told run throughout the book; and they cannot distinguish that inspired portion which they ought to hold fast from those uninspired statements of science and history which they are assured they may safely let go. Thus doubt and distrust enter their minds, and never again can they rest with that unquestioning reliance upon the Word of God which they once felt.The sacred volume is no longer to them a rock which cannot be shaken. To this it may be added, that these theories, where they are admitted disturb the learned and acute mind still more powefully than the illiterate; for the thinking, reasoning man naturally argues, that if any statement of Scripture has been questioned, so may another, and another; and that if historical or physical facts can be disproved, whatever doctrines or precepts rest upon them must give way likewise. Thus scepticism takes gradual possession of the soul. If natural facts cannot be admitted on the mere warrant of inspiration, by what law of evidence, it may be asked, can we be compelled to believe, on the same authority, those which are supernatural? When science has once begun to tamper with Scripture, it is vain to say that it will restrict itself to physical statements, and abstain from the consideration of miracles. Men will no more stop half-way in an argument because you wish them, than a rolling stone will check itself at your bidding when half way down the hill."

Sam

3 comments:

Ktisophilos said...

James Mellor Brown was amazingly insightful and perceptive. Shame that Moore efficiently displays arrogance and stupidity all in one package (cf. Londo Mollari in Babylon 5).

neil moore said...

Thanks Sam for the extract of James Mellor Brown's paper.

In reply I provide a quote from 19th Century Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle who seemed to encapsulate the position of many Sydney Anglicans of this age when he addressed the neeed to come out and be separate from the world (2 Cor. 6:17)

He said "The rule of the bulk of mankind is to go with the stream, to do as others, to follow rhe fashion, to keep in with the common opinion, and to set your watch by the town-clock. The true Christian will never be content with such a rule as that.. He will simply ask, What saith the Scripture? What is written in the Word of God? ... If he stands alone in the parish, or town or congregation, he will not go against the Bible. If he has to come out from the crowd, and take a position by himself, he will not flinch from it rather than disobey the Bible. This is genuine Scriptural separation." ('Practical Religion' pgs 295 & 296)

I too find it hard to see a great work of God amongst those who have wilfully departed so far from an impression of the glory of God revealed in Scripture.

Neil Moore

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