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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back on Connect '09

So 09, and its 'connect' draws to a close.

Let's see: what has been achieved?

It is time for the 'told you sos' from all and sundry.

Now, I hope that people have repented at a greater rate than without Connecting '09, but I haven't seen much evidence.

I hope that churches are now connecting to their communities more than they did. But where I live, I don't see it...same old same old. But I hope that I'm wrong, and not seeing much that is happening.

I guess the test is; what are the headlines now saying about the Anglican church...let me check recent papers.

Here we are; in the Herald's business section a few days ago; the Anglican Diocese of Sydney memorialised as the crowd that gambled over a hundred million...and lost! That's the connection: the SAD connected with debt; foolishness; arguably greed; and connected with trust in mammon over God! Great record Peter. In politics even the NSW ALP would resign government under such a performance, what do archbishops do?

I guess its a case of 'do it again in two thousand and ten!'

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sydney Anglicans Airing Ignorance to the World

As we approach Christmas 2009 it seemed reasonable for The Sydney Daily Telegraph to seek a statement from religious leaders in which they were to testify to the existence of God.

In a preview of this exercise The Daily Telegraph journalist said both the Roman Catholic Cardinal Pell and Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen believed in Theistic Evolution.

However, when it came time for Archbishop Jensen's statement to appear on 23 December 2009 there was no mention of Theistic Evolution. Perhaps it is something he prefers to conceal from general understanding or maybe it was edited out by newspaper.

One thing published that I found quite disturbing was "Furthermore, he [God] delights in his creation. He calls it very good."

How could the former Principal of Moore Theological College and now Archbishop of Sydney make such a faulty statement. Yes, God did say His creation was very good but that was the creation that is no more. That utterance of God was before His creation rebelled against Him, thus introducing death, suffering and continued acts of rebellion against Him. It was also before sin had become so great that God destroyed that world with a global flood.

Nowhere in Scripture does God call post Fall and Flood creation "very good". Even after the Flood, sin and death has continued unabated. You just can't call that creation "very good". Indeed when someone spoke to the Lord Jesus with the opening "Good teacher" our Lord corrected the man with the words "No man is good but God alone". Now, you just cannot deduce from that reply that a creation populated by men who are not "good", is a "very good" creation.

Archbishop Jensen went on to say "He [God] can be relied upon to speak the truth, to always do what is right, to be consistent."

Well now Archbishop, why don't you believe that God was speaking the truth when he said "for in six days I created the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them" (Exodus 20:11). There is no possible way in which such a statement of God accommodates a Theistic Evolution view of creation. At this point then, being a Theistic Evolutionist, the Archbishop must believe that God is not speaking the truth or, for that matter, nor is God being consistent. But, God is being consistent here with his record of creation in Genesis 1 and in Exodus 31:17.

One can only stand back and wonder what a tangled web compromisers spin for themselves when they start pushing their ideas onto the clear Word of God.

Surely Archbishop Jensen stands on shifting sand and is vulnerable to Atheist argument when he mishandles Scripture as he does in his statement to The Daily Telegraph.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 24 the six days

Taking this creation account as a whole, how shall we arrange the work of the six days? Is there any possibility of grouping within the six days? Most schemes that are advanced are not entirely perfect, but they may yet contain a generous element of truth. It seems as though the best pattern or the categories that man employs are not of a big enough mould to serve for the creation as God brings it about. Let a few of these subdivisions be submitted. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), mentioned by Strack, suggested two triads of days, the first three concerned with works of division, the second three with works of embellishment. Yet the third day's work in its second half certainly comes under the head of embellishment. A second suggestion notices the manifest parallel between the two triads of days, pointing to the fact that both the first and the fourth days are concerned with a work that begins on high with light (or light bearers). Then in the work of the second and the fifth days the work drops to a lower level, namely, to the firmament and to the birds of the air. Lastly, on the third and the sixth days the creative work moves on the level of the earth and accomplishes a double objective, namely on the third, separation of dry land and water and the production of green things, whereas on the sixth day comes the creation of land animals and man. The correspondence of the two triads from this point of view cannot be denied, but to try to imagine it as entirely adequate would overlook the work of the fifth day, which is double in character and drops not only to the level of the creation of the birds of the air but also, unfortunately, to the submarine level of the creation of fishes of the sea. More satisfactory is Koenig's arrangement which sees four deficiencies or four instances of relative incompleteness listed in a definite order and sees the successive creative acts as removing these four in inverse order, as we shall presently demonstrate.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Darwin and Wallace

John, thanks for the link across to Nagel's award to Meyer's book.

A piece from the post on Science and Values deserves to be surfaced here:
Michael A. Flannery, in his book ‘Alfred Russel Wallace's Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace's World of Life Challenged Darwinism’, shows that Darwin's exclusion of God from any involvement in the development of life was well entrenched in his mind long before he wrote ‘Origin of Species’. In other words, his belief that evolution could happen all by itself was not a product of his science but his philosophical position.
After many years of research, Wallace, second only to Charles Darwin as the 19th century's most noted English naturalist, came to the conclusion that evolution could not have happened without being guided by a higher intelligence, whereas Darwin held to the concept of randomness in evolution.
Writing in Forbes magazine, Flannery explained: "Darwin's own theory could hardly be called objectively scientific. Early influences on Darwin's youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism [the exclusion of supernatural explanations] long before his voyage on the Beagle.
"In short, Darwin's metaphysic compelled his science. Wallace, on the other hand, was a tireless investigator who increasingly discerned design in nature. Unlike Darwin, Wallace's science compelled his metaphysics."

A useful statement to bear in mind when we hear the usual doffing of hat and tugging of forelock in the direction of Darwin by our pals in the SAD, who are, of course, functioning at the intellectual level of gnats when it comes to creation and evolution.

And while we're on intellectual performance, have a look at the quote on Behe's blog from Joseph Thornton who has a very confused take on probabilistic calculus. On his line of argument, the probability of any event, or chain of events is so vanishingly small that nothing could have acutally happened. But we know that things do happen. Thornton I think takes actual events as inhabiting a probability density function, which in fact exists theoretically and prospectively. What actually happens is a different thing. So could we argue this way for evolution? Well, see below, but also we know the mechanism by which baseball teams win games. There is as yet no mechanism for 'grand scale' evolution, let alone the origin of life materialistically.

By way of contrast, have a look at On Probability and Systematics: Possibility, Probability, and Phylogenetic Inference Matthew H. Haber in Systematic Biology 2005 54(5):831-841

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Battle for the Truth

There's just no let up is there? Scientists who are Biblical Creationists are continually excluded from having research published in major scientific journals then confronted with charges of not having research peer reviewed; often denied data by their opponents; accused of taking their opponents' research or statements out of context or, when flaws in their opponents' research are exposed, cover-ups are employed to guard the primary axiom of Evolution against criticism.

The battle for the truth on Origins is fought with many tactics and strategies. Biblical Creationists are even, at times, likened to "Holocaust Deniers" so as to put them 'way out there' in their belief.

The tactics have all been on display in recent days commencing last Sunday on a Sydney radio program. Comments along the lines of the following were aired:

"Scientists had their research published but leading scientists of the opposing view contacted the publisher, ridiculed their work and had them dropped from the science magazine."

"The scientists are dismissed as having no credibility because their work is not peer reviewed."

"Exposed mistakes of their opponents are covered up."

"Their opponents' work had data cut off when it showed a contrary view to that which they wanted known."

"Freedom of Information requests for their opponents' data were denied and email requests were destroyed."

"The leaking of emails revealing all these tactics resulted in a response from their opponents' to the effect that the emails were taken out of context."

So what's new? Well, in this instance the subject was not Creation/Evolution Debate but Climate Change and the battle for the truth between advocates of human induced Climate Change and those labelled as Climate Change Skeptics.

"The George & Paul Show" on Sydney Radio Station 2UE last Sunday afternoon interviewed Melbourne journalist Andrew Bolt who is a critic of human induced Climate Change. The discussion centred on the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and the tactics employed by advocates of human induced Climate Change against critics within the scientific community.

Biblical Creationists will chuckle at the 'goings-on' because they are quite familiar with the tactics employed.

However, human induced Climate Change Skeptics are outraged. Sydney Daily Telegraph journalist, Piers Akerman, entered the fray yesterday. I provide an extract of his column:

"Excerpts of the emails detailing deception practised by the scientists, the methods they used to ensure no voices other than theirs were heard, that only those who agreed with their theories would be included in peer reviews, are circulating widely on the internet.

They illustrate a contempt for science or at least an abuse of practice.

They are the work of true deniers. They are the work of vandals. They are like indelible graffiti left by idiots.

They betray the work of the Renaissance. They undermine the Enlightenment.

A disgusting venality is also revealed in the emails, a vile spirit of hatred for those who hold the truth to be dear."

Welcome, Piers Akerman, George & Paul and Andrew Bolt to much of what passes for science today. The truth is not pursued with rigor or is not received with objectivity if it does not conform to the Primary Axiom.

Be prepared for a long fight and for many and varied insults cast your way. Be prepared for people to give you 'short shift' as you attempt to present your argument. You may even, as recently occurred in Australian Federal Parliament, be referred to as "Holocaust Deniers".

Biblical Creationists are battle hardened, fit for their long fight and will prevail because the "truth will out". It remains to be seen whether there is as much fight in Skeptics of human induced Climate Change.

Just as an aside, I wonder what's going on in the minds of those groups in many nations who formed themselves into associations many years ago and called themselves "Skeptics" (or "Sceptics") and focused their attention on denying the supernatural. Right now, in Australia at least, the term "Skeptic" is the subject of much ridicule and scorn.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Question Darwin: should Christians embrace evolution?

An interesting blog over at Question Darwin: worth a look for the worthies at SAD.
Question Darwin: should Christians embrace evolution?

Dissenter's comments are worthwhile, but I don't think that they start to plumb the theological depths of dancing with death (courting theistic evolution). I've touched on a few in recent comments, IMO, (see this post, for example) but I'm sure that there is much more to say.

Leupold Genesis part 23 history scriptures

The Scriptures themselves treat this account as pure history. Note the following passages: (Ex 20:9-11; 31:17; Ps 8; Ps 104; Mt 19:4-6; 2Pe 3:5; Heb 4:4)

When the question is raised as to the sources of the truths set forth in this Introduction, we must freely admit that we know nothing about them. There are several possibilities. That Moses himself received the whole chapter by direct revelation is possible. Equally, if not more, reasonable is the assumption that divine revelation communicated to our first parents the account of creation. From them it came by tradition to Moses, who recorded the whole under divine inspiration, purging it from errors or inaccuracies, should any have begun to creep into the traditional version of it by this time. That, however, such tradition may have continued relatively, if not entirely, pure appears from the following three facts: first, the number of links in the chain of persons from Adam to Abraham was very few because of man's longevity at this time, and Abraham's time was already one of intense literary activity; secondly: godly men who perpetuated this tradition would have employed extreme care to preserve it correct in all its parts; thirdly, the memory of men who trusted more to memory than to written records is known to have been unusually retentive. But whatever explanation an individual may devise to make plain to others that tradition may have played a part in bringing this priceless record to us, and even if he grant the possibility of written records of this tradition prior to the time of Moses, all such supposition dare never be construed as conflicting with the very basic fact that Genesis 1 is revelation.

Suppositions like that of Dillmann and many others that the Israelitish mind was equipped with a better understanding of God and let the light of this insight, be trained on the problem of the origin of all things and devised this which is to date still the best solution; are not satisfactory. Such claims are an attempt to dispose of immediate revelation as well as of plenary inspiration and are besides hardly reasonable. How could human ingenuity ever have penetrated into the divine order and manner of creation, when no witness to these works could ever be found? In any case, such explanations as to how the account was derived make of it a series of surmises and remove entirely the possibility of the objective correctness and the complete reliability of this record. All that remains is that of all speculations man ever elaborated about the origin of the world this is still by all odds the best. The claims and the attitude of the Scriptures, however, are met only by the explanation that says: This chapter was received by divine revelation; it contains full and absolute truth and only truth.

In order to make this scriptural account appear as just one more cosmogony it has become a common procedure to make more or less extensive Comparisons with other cosmogonies as they are found here and there in the records of the traditions of the nations. We offer, however. a more extensive examination of these so-called "creation accounts" above in our Introductory Remarks (p. 27). A fair comparison with such materials makes our remarks above appear all the more reasonable.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sydney Anglicans Gather Up Crumbs of Sin Under Adam and Abram's Table

Not long back I wrote about Abram, Sarai, Isaac and Ishmael. There is more to be said and I address it now.

To begin I cite Genesis 3:1 and use for all citations the New International Version of the Bible.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The word crafty (ārûm) in its uses in Proverbs & Job suggests wisdom and ingenuity.

Here then was the wisest of the wild animals pitted against the woman in the garden and attempting to supplant faithfulness to the Word of God for the 'prize' of man's own wisdom - a wisdom to match that of God. Man had all the good for living provided through the Word of God. However, accepting the wisdom of the serpent was to result in curse.

The questions of the serpent were calculated to imply that God was withholding knowledge from man. It was the woman (Eve) who engaged in the conversation but it is reasonably deduced that man (Adam) was nearby and aware of the dialogue.

Here then, man came to a mind that there was something more in what God had said than the straightforward message conveyed by God. To the mind of man it seemed better to take advice from the creation and look for something 'behind' the Word of God.

The sad irony is that man already had wisdom for living, having been created in the image of God. The pursuit of wisdom by man's own means was an act of unfaithfulness which brought separation from God, thus death.

Consider now the much later scene in history when a conversation occurs between the man of promise - Abram - and his wife - Sarai. Two promises of descendants had been made by the LORD God to Abram before, as recorded in Genesis 15:4 - Then the word of the LORD came to him "This man [a servant in Abram's household] will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."

It was clear now to Abram that he would father the child through whom the great promise would be delivered.

This leads us to the later conversation between Abram and Sarai which is recorded in Genesis 16:1-4

¹Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; ² so she said to Abram, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. ³ So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.  He slept with Hagar and she conceived.

Note parallels in this incident with the incident in the garden recorded in Genesis 3:

16:2a (so she said [Sarai] to)

3:2 (The woman said to)

16:2b (Abram agreed to what Sarai said)

3:17 (you listened to your wife)

16:3a (Sarai ... took)

3:6a (she took some)

16:3b (and [she] gave her to her husband)

3:6b (she also gave to her husband)

The author wants us to observe these similarities in the incidents and there are more, including the declaration of curses.

Each situation arose when the characters were left to their faith for a time by the LORD. He had spoken and it remained for the characters to trust in Him despite their desired timing or deemed benefit from acting by themselves.

Instead of waiting faithfully for the Word of God to be fulfilled, Sarai trusted in the wisdom of the world through a custom of a maidservant being offered to the head of the household (tablets from Ur and Nuzi confirm the custom) for production of an heir. Notwithstanding Sarai's plan was an attempt at the fulfilment of God's promise of blessing it was, nonetheless, a revisiting of the sin of the woman in the garden as was the passive accepting of this world derived wisdom by the man in each situation.

Each attempt to achieve the mind of God was a disaster. Each attempt was nothing more than mingling worldly wisdom with the pure Word of God. It must therefore lead to failure.

Now move forward to the late 20th Century and the Sydney Anglican Diocese under influence of the errant Theistic Evolution belief of Archbishop Peter Jensen -a belief taking root in Moore Theological College since the term of Peter Jensen as Principal.

It is not a promise but a statement of fact by God recorded in Exodus 20:11:

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Make no mistake, there is no way you can draw out a Theistic Evolution or Gap Theory model of origins from that statement of God without doing serious harm to the syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics of language.

The Genesis 1 account of creation is just as decisive. Yet the wisdom of man emerging within the Sydney Anglican Diocese concerning the creation account is that the author of Genesis 1 hides a hidden message through employment of literary devices, further, that God used a literary device in the Exodus rendering of the creation account. Such a school of thought throws the door wide open for all manner of interpretations of the creation account and Theistic Evolution is on the rise.

Here then you have the heretics of Sydney Anglican Diocese pursuing the same act of contempt via unfaithfulness to the Word of God displayed by Adam & Eve and Abram & Sarai. Further, the Archbishop's role is repetition of the insipid abrogation of headship by Adam and Abram to the spirit of the age. Such a course has resulted in disaster in the past and will do so again.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Creation or evolution, it’s just a peripheral subject

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a Sydney Anglican say something like, “God could have done it by evolution or creation…it doesn’t really matter”, I would have been able to retire long ago on the interest alone.

Apart from such sentiments betraying a really impoverished understanding of who God is and an even more defective ability to read plain Scripture, it also reveals an indifference to the cost of believing something which is patently false. Bad ideas have bad consequences, and the epistemological standard that there are some areas of thought about which one can believe anything, would seem to be a principle uniquely identified with the postmodern left rather than a tag attached to the supposed conservatism of the Sydney Anglicans.

Yet, here it is, the idea that God can do anything he well pleases to do because he is God. God, according to Peter Jensen, can even give up being Creator and allow non-being, chance, to run the universe. This is far worse than deism because at least with this proposal God is still sitting on his throne whereas, with Jensen’s idea, he vacates heaven and takes a holiday to goodness knows where and allows the pagan immanent no-thing to, somehow, bring things into being.

The unexamined insistence that belief in evolution poses no genuine threat to faith and that there is no parlous fallout from holding such an idea is perhaps even more disturbing than Jensen’s belief in the idea itself.

Herbert Spencer, the wicked mastermind behind Social Darwinism (the belief that the weak should die off for the strong), reveals in his autobiography that,

“Doubtless my intellectual leaning towards belief in natural causation everywhere operating, and my consequent tendency to disbelieve alleged miracles, had much to do with my gradual relinquishment of the current creed and its associated story of creation – a relinquishment which went on insensibly during early manhood. Doubtless, too, a belief in evolution at large was then latent; since, little as the fact is recognised, anyone who, abandoning the supernaturalism of theology, accepts in full the naturalism of science, tacitly asserts that all things as they now exist have been evolved…”

Spencer, it could be reasonably argued, was the intellectual drive behind compulsory sterilisation of the disabled, the Pro-Choice movement, disregard for Afro-American welfare and other less fortunate groups, and a belief that social welfare and community health programs were positively harmful. What sustained this philosophy was, in part, his disdain for the miraculous of the Genesis creation account and his upholding of evolution.

Peter Jensen and others in the Sydney Anglican cult believe that they can have God doing anything, even the inanely impossible, and not have it produce any inimical consequences. That, I wish to emphasise, demonstrates an arrogance and an utter absence of wisdom. As I previously said, all ideas have consequences and the idea that God could, would, use a principle in which the weak die off for the strong, can’t be an idea that would lead people to the God that was revealed in Christ.

“The proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that God died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 22 chapter 1 intro


The Introduction--The Creation Account (1:1-2:3)

The object of this double title is to indicate that on the one hand, this is the Introduction which Moses has provided for the entire book of Genesis as well as, on the other hand, that this Introduction is given in the form of an account of creation.

It requires no deep insight to discern the basic character of this Introduction, both for the book as well as for all revelation. Man will go back in his thinking to the point where the origins of all things lie; he will desire to know how the world as well as all that is in it, and, most particularly, how he himself came into being. Here is the record, complete and satisfactory from every point of view, even if it does not perhaps answer every question that a prying curiosity might raise. He, however, who will ponder sufficiently what is here actually offered, will find facts of such magnitude as to stifle unseemly curiosity as to secondary matters.

Enthusiastic have been the comments of all who have read this account in an attitude of faith. Believing hearts are moved to devout praise of God and to adoration of His unbounded wisdom, power and mercy. Over against the criticism of our day even moderately critical writers offer comments such as Skinner (p. 11): "It is a bold thing to desiderate a treatment more worthy of the theme, or more impressive in effect, than we find the severely chiselled outlines and stately cadences of the first chapter of Genesis." Proksch, contrasting the basic thought of the chapter with all other literatures, advances the claim: "That the universe rises out of nothing by the almighty creative power of God is a thought so broad in its poetic as well as in its theological scope found nowhere in such clear-cut outlines in world literature before P."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sydney Anglicans at the Zoo

The progeny of a male ass covering a female horse is a mule; the progeny of a male zebra covering a female horse is a zorse; the progeny of a male zebra covering a female donkey is a zeedonk, zonkey or a zebrass. Similarly, a male African lion covering a female tiger can produce a liger while the reverse cross produces a tigon. A male camel covering a female llama can produce a 'cama'. A male false killer whale covering a female bottlenose dolphin can produce a 'wholphin'. The list of hybrids goes on and extends quite broadly into the plant world.

What needs to be understood with hybridization is that it has its limits as to which animals or plants can be mated. Furthermore, the result of the mating is not the production of new genetic information which the evolutionary paradigm requires for validation of its argument. Instead, the existing genetic information passed on from the parents will produce a 'compromise' of expression in the progeny i.e. some features of one parent and some features of the other. There is then, a loss of complete expression of each parent's genetic information.

Sydney Anglicans upholding a Theistic Evolution model of creation ought to learn a lesson by observing what happens in the animal and plant world. A loss of information will occur when one takes the LORD and God revealed in creation, word and incarnation and attempts a 'hybridization' with a god who is the product of man's imaginings.

Elijah the Tishbite confronted Israel with a challenge when it was evident Israel was wavering in faith toward the God who had rescued their forbears from slavery in Egypt and who had revealed Himself in such a great deliverance. Elijah said "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." (1 Kings 18:21a & b)

As if to mimic the Israel of today expressed in Sydney Anglicanism when confronted with its sin by sydneyanglicanheretics, the Israel before Elijah said nothing in reply. (1 Kings 18:21c)

Oh that each generation of Israel would mimic Joshua from days of old who said "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15b)

Theistic Evolution is the Baal of today. It is the presentation of a god alien to the LORD who has revealed His nature threefold in creation, word and incarnation. Worse still, it is the worship of a false god mixed with worship of the one true God who is LORD. Herein lies a hybrid lacking the distinctiveness of the Holy One of Israel.

What have you done Sydney Anglican heretics?


Monday, November 2, 2009

What is Peter Doing #2?

Just so we don't loose track of this post about Peter Jensen's crazy talk at synod, here 'tis again.

A synopsis of the post is that PJ seems to think that you can have your materialist cake and eat it too, without undoing the biblical teaching on origins; but the Bible refers to origins as making this world that we live in; not an imaginary world for mystical contemplation. That is clearly the terms of the Biblical account in Genesis 1.

Creation, like the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection had space-time coordinates that we could relate to our own world of experience; making God's acts acts of history and the real world. Setting the world, this world, as the scene of the connection between us and God, and the place of covenant. Peter's remarks threaten to jettison this, and defer to a world view that relegates God to an idle curiosity, if having anything to do with us at all.

Why he does this is that he rejects the link that God makes between us and him and claims that it points to some other kind of link that is not in the Bible; so how that could be of biblical importance and worthy of a theologian's attention escapes me.

The Holy Spirit seems to go all out to align the creation as events that are delimited by space-time as is the world we experience, in fact, it is the same world and described in the same terms as the world we can identify. This tells us how we are related to God (consider the Lukan genealogy of Christ). Peter says this doesn't work, is not important in the terms in which it is set in the Bible, and other stories of the world are more significant for our self-understanding.

However, the terms he chooses to defer to are better at setting a self-understanding that dismisses God as creator and makes God cosmic spectator, if not absentee landlord. In doing this Peter risks becoming more of a deist that a Christian theist, IMO.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 21 bibliography

10. Bibliography

A. Commentaries

Delitzsch, Franz, Commentar ueber die Genesis, Leipzig: Doerffling and Franke, 1872.

Dillmann, August, Die Genesis, Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 4. edition. 1882.

Dods, Marcus, The Expositor's Bible (Genesis), New York: George II. Doran Co. No date.

Gunkel, IIerman, Handkommentar zum Alten Testament, W. Nowak, editor. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht. 1901.

Jamieson, Robert, A Commentary Critical and Explanatory, (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown). New York: George II. Doran. No date.

Keil, C. F., Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament (Genesis), (Keil and Delitzsch), Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark. 1875.

Koenig, Eduard, Die Genesis, Guetersioh: Bertelsmann. 1919.

Lange, J. P., Bibelwerk (Genesis), Bielefeld: Velhagen und Klasing. 1864.

Luther, Martin, Saemtliche Schriften (Genesis), St. Louis, Mo. Concordia Publishing House. 1881. (2 vol.)

Procksch, Otto, Kommentar zum Alten Testament (Genesis), Ernst Sellin, editor. Leipzig: Deichert. 1913.

Skinner, John, International Critical Commentary (Genesis), Driver, et al, editors. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1925.

Strack, Hermann L., Kurzgefasster Kommentar (Genesis), Strack and Zoeckler, editors. Muenchen: C. H. Beck. 1905.

Vilmar, August Fr. C., Collegium Biblicum (Genesis), Christian Mueller, editor. Guetersloh: Bertelsmann. 1881.

Whitelaw Thomas, The Pulpit Commentary (Genesis), H. D. M. Spence, editor. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Co. 1882.

References to these commentaries have been made exclusively by the author's name, as Delitzsch. Quotations appear, of course, under the verse that is being treated. Consequently, reference to pages was consistently omitted.

As to the position taken by these commentaries, works such as those of Dillmann, Dods, Strack may be classed as moderately critical. Gunkel, Procksch and Skinner belong into the class of the extremely critical. Delitzsch finally yielded to the blandishments of the critical approach and accepted at least the source theory in its major features but still put the critical work into the category of secondary importance. Jamieson disregards critical issues. Keri, seconded in many a case by Lange, did very substantial work in the direction of establishing the validity of the conservative approach. Whitelaw works in a similar spirit. Luther's comments naturally have a very different purpose but are still to be read with profit. Koenig does the most constructive work among modern writers, but unfortunately, he yielded to the source theory, though even in this his position is moderate.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is Peter Doing?

My comments to the post on Peter Jensens vacuous talk at Synod were a little cryptic, I admit; so what was I saying when I wrote:

It amazes me that PJ does not see:
(a) that he is buying into a religious belief system when he supports materialist contentions about the nature of the real;
(b) the Bible's structuring of the real from the revelation of God in Gen 1, etc, and the words of the Bible elsewhere that clearly eliminate both long ages and evolutionary ideas...both of course being long standing pagan notions anyway!

Let me put it another way.

When Peter discounts the direct meaning of, say, Genesis 1, and the chronogenealogies of Genesis, plus the Lukan genealogy, etc. he is saying that God has connected himself to us in a way other than the way he has stated. So Peter, what is the way...via pond scum and the random pain of billions of years of evolutionary chance...gag me with a spoon!

Peter has stepped straight past some critical aspects of the scriptures when he thinks that their time and world-frame has no real part to play in their theology, the basic covenant between creator and creature, or the interaction between creator, creation and creatures.

There is probably a pile of aspects to this set of connections, but I'll mention only a couple.

The incarnation is set in the Bible in identical terms to the creation and its events: that is, both occur as discrete event sequences within the contiguous time-space that we inhabit, and are constrained by. If the creation is a reference by imagery of some other thing that happened, then it ceases to act in counterpoint to the incarnation, which was an event in 'dateable time', to quote John Dickson's recent video.

If the creation was outside the concrete and direct realism by which it is related to us, then it seems hard to pin down the precise connection between us and God, which connection is important for the incarnation: thus Luke 3, as cited above. Otherwise, the whole enterprise is based on a tale of mythic proportions that cannot argue a direct and close connection with our lives, or our collective life-history. We are no better off than ancient mystery religion worshippers.

But, if God did create in dateable time, and in the world constrained as we experience it, then he could say so, putting his work, our lives, and the incarnation both on the one time-line, and in the one time-space world, meaning, pretty directly, that our collective life is from God, before God and in relationship to God (either good or bad, now bad, of course, but for Christ) in the most palpable way. Myth, the vageness of chance and the 'fates' have no space in which to intervene and push God's realness out of our realness.

All this goes, of course, if God does evaporate into the never-never past. He becomes one with the dreamtime tales of Australian aborigines and his connection with our lives is mythic, not real, his salvation is just words, and not lives reborn.

Peter must be relying on a description of our collective history that is other than from the hand of God. His reliance is on a materialist myth to which he adds God, but fails to make God critical to the success of the tale: God in or God out of the materialist story, and you still have the materialist story; 'God' as an idea doesn't make the story change or show us where the lacunae are repaired. At root Peter calls on a materialist account of the cosmos to which God is a foreigner.

But God's story is different, and he makes that difference connect with our world by showing that he is the creator of what we are standing in, in the same terms that operate within the world we experience: ontological contiguity is the prime frame of Genesis 1, and we jetison at the peril of a meaningful Christian theology and proclamation of our Lord's salvation.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sydney Archbishop Jensen Avoids Conviction

The Sydney Episcopalian Diocese is holding its Annual Synod and I was interested in some comments from Archbishop Peter Jensen in his Presidential Address. An audio version of it can be downloaded from the Diocesan website.

It is common knowledge that the Diocese has shed about $100M of the value of its investments. The Archbishop referred to this in his Presidential Address and indicated he has reflected for a while on why it happened. Was it a judgment from God or a testing from God?

The Archbishop seems to have come down on the side of the latter because nowhere in his address does he call for repentance from a known sin. He is obviously ignorant of the singular and loud charge against the Diocese emanating from the Sydney Anglican Heretics blogspot or he rejects our charge. Instead, Archbishop Jensen defers to the experience of a Bible study involving leaders of the Diocese and their wives some months back where Deut. 11 was considered with Moses offer to Israel at the verge of the Promised Land of "blessing or curse" according to the nation's obedience or rejection of the commands of God. Apparently conversation at the Bible study quickly turned to innocent Joseph being punished with imprisonment for rejecting an adulterous relationship with Potiphar's wife and then mention was made of innocent Jesus Christ being punished for sins he did not commit.

Notice what happened in that Bible study to encourage the Archbishop that the Diocese under his leadership was not under judgment from God? Participants immediately shook off any question of guilt and looked to the suffering of innocents for explanation of the plight of the Diocese. It is, in effect, a repeat of "This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD " cries of Judah when rejecting any notion they were out of step with the word of God - all the while doing that very thing (Jer. 7:4).

Archbishop Jensen gives the game away as to his readiness to reject the word of God when he makes the following statement about climate change:

"Every time the weather behaves erratically, we are reminded of climate change and its likely consequences. The authoritative scientific consensus to the fact of change is so strong that it would be folly to ignore it."

The opinion of a noisy and, seemingly, surrounding scientific view is enough to influence the Archbishop as to what he and the Diocese should think about climate change. In other places and in other times Archbishop Jensen has made it clear the same is true for the question of origins even though that opinion runs up against the express word of God. However, in his address to Synod Archbishop Jensen somewhat schizophrenically says: "It would not be right, for example simply to express our own prejudices and guesses and to confuse them with the word of God" and "Our access to the mind of the Lord is through his word and we must look there for our answers, not to speculation." While the Archbishop is not discussing the question of origins here he is, nevertheless, pointing to the word of God for direction in understanding the difficulties facing the Diocese. He goes on to say "Their [Israel's] enjoyment of the fruit of the land depended on their continual obedience to the word of God."

That latter statement we can agree with. If only the Archbishop would back up the rhetoric with obedience.

Further comment warranting mention is "Our reading of God’s word, our preaching, prayers, singing, and fellowship, including our sacramental fellowship, must be honoring to God and edifying to his people." How is it honoring to God to massage, twist, smother or reject God's word when it clearly indicates a creative process and duration in stark contrast to the current world view synthesized by Archbishop Jensen to allow some involvement of God? How is such a 'dog's breakfast' edifying to the people of God?

Archbishop Jensen goes on to ask a question and proffer an answer as follows:

"Where will we be fifty years from now? We are up against a large challenge and there is no guarantee whatever that we will survive except as a small but wealthy cult. The cultural mood is not flowing with us, and immigrant numbers are also not in our favor. I realize that for many, Pentecostal Christianity is the answer and they will extol its attractions and its capacity to attract some of the very people who are missing from our churches. My problem with that suggestion is in the nature of Pentecostalism. I judge that its love-affair with modern culture will leave it insufficiently tied to historic Christianity, and that there is a chance that it will not be recognizably Christian in fifty years. That is a harsh judgment and I hope that I am wrong; but there are already signs of diversion from the fundamentals.

I do not doubt, therefore, that our commitment to conservative theology and to a high view of scripture is entirely correct. Only this will carry Christianity forward in a culture such as Australia in the next fifty years."

The stone thown at Pentecostal Christianity is thrown from within a glass house. While Pentecostal Christianity does have aspects of a "love-affair with modern culture" it is not as complete as Archbishop Jensen would have us believe. It is my observation that, on the subject of origins there is, in Pentecostalism, a broad and healthy adherence to the word of God. In contrast, the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese is far more inclined to have its own "love-affair with modern culture" which "will leave it insufficiently tied to historic Christianity, and that there is a chance that it will not be recognizably Christian in fifty years."

Finally, Archbishop Jensen urges "a commitment both to biblical theology and purity of doctrine, also to our neighbours." He cites four things to be done to achieve this. It is the first of these four things that catches in our throat like rancid meat.

He says: "First we must continue to cherish and support our College. But this is as long as, and only as long as, it embraces the heart of the theology of the Bible as expressed in the English Reformation. I wish you could all see the powerful effect which Moore College is having all around Australia and the world. Its teaching is the guardian of our theology and hence our life as a network of churches. More than that, the College has recognized as never before its duty to contend in the world of ideas, to speak for Christ and his word in the sphere of academic theology, of secular humanism and of world religion."

Whew! What can you say in dealing with those points one by one? I have to be brief.

1) The Diocese must immediately spurn or reform Moore College because the College has rejected Reformation principle of "Sola Scriptura" on origins and has departed from Luther and Calvin on origins.

2) The asserted "powerful effect" Moore College is having around all around the world on origins will only be destructive.

3) In its present doctrinal position on origins Moore College is as much a guardian of Diocesan theology as King Zedekiah was guardian of the future of Judah (Jer. 52)

4) Moore College does not contend with but absorbs academic theology, secular humanism and world religion on the subject of origins.

Throughout the history of pre-exile Israel and Judah there was a recurring theme of practicing ritual of belief in the word of God while often synchretising with the beliefs of the nations around them. Moses had warned against this before they entered the Promised Land. God sent prophets in warning once synchretism had commenced. Israel and Judah scorned the prophets because they believed they were right with God. As such, the word of God was treated with disdain.

The Archbishop of Sydney and the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney must learn from the error of Israel and Judah. Cast off the notion that you are innocent. Examine your behaviour. See where you have departed from the way. Repent and believe in the word of God otherwise doom awaits.
It is not just that the word of God is cast down in this sin. It is the unmistakable corrupting of the attributes of God revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ that offends most. One only need look upon Jesus Christ in all he said and all he did to see that Theistic Evolution removes one so remotely from our Lord.

Surely our Lord will, in no wise, endure indefinitely an offence like the threefold corrupted representation of his Person by his people as occurred with the golden calf at the base of Sinai, at Bethel and at Dan.

Sam Drucker

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anglican Genius

The ABC's Compass program on Sunday 'did' Sydney Anglicans.

Peter's best line, I think was in connection with his rejection of homosexual practice: "I’m going to be faithful to the word of God, even though in terms of the popular culture I’m a villain or I’m an idiot or I’m all the other things that people say." Now, I'm all for Peter's views on homosexual practice and the Bible's teaching on it. Only I wonder if Peter applies the blow torch of the Bible to his teaching (non) on Genesis....not, of course!

So he talks 'Bible' but does 'conformity to the dominant paganism'. Thanks Peter.

I've got a couple of comments on the program: the 'high' Anglican church in Hurstville doesn't need any opposition; from what I saw, it is on the way to imploding, with NO young people in any of the scenes that I saw...even despite their little rainbow that is supposed to make the self-sexual feel good to be there! Get real!

Then, I was unimpressed by the shallowness of insight of the evangelicals, busily relating to their figment of the 1950s, IMO.

All I can tell about Connect09 is that it's not 'we connect with you', but 'hey, why don't you come and connect with us?'

The big channel for connecting, as recent letters to the editor in the Sydney Morning Herald indicated, is Anglicare; that is making well regarded 'connections'. Now, if the SADs levered off this, they might get somewhere, and do good, and provide a big fat channel for the gospel...but that would take work, and commitment, and sacrifice, and couldn't be compressed into a slogan-driven year long flash.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A pagan hits the spot

This popped up on the Anglican Origins blog: its so good it called for a link from here.

Put simply, its a letter to a local newspaper where someone denies a gospel approach because of disbelief in Genesis having any real world truth value! Sad, but a true conclusion abetted by a church that doesn't seem to know either what or why it believes!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 20 Cosmogonies

If at this point we append a summary of certain of the better known cosmogonies, or at least of those which have a certain affinity with the Biblical account, anyone can judge for himself whether the Biblical account in any sense seems to be a derivative. The most famous of the non-biblical cosmogonies is the Babylonian or the so-called "Chaldean Genesis," which created such a stir at the time of its publication in 1876 after it had been unearthed as a part of the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh by George Smith in 1873. The several tablets on which the account is written are in a fairly good state of preservation.

The story begins with an account that is a theogony--an account of the origin of the gods--in itself already an indication of a far inferior level. The true God did not come into being by a certain process, nor were there originally several deities. Now of these various deities one stood out as particularly aggressive and ferocious, the unsubdued Tiamat--again a decidedly inferior point of view. For the struggle that impended Tiamat, the old mother of gods, enlists as many of the old gods as she can and a whole crew of horrid monsters. The resulting conflict for supremacy (note the low moral level even among gods) is a truly titanic struggle in which the forces of the opposition are led by the great Babylonian deity Marduk. Marduk proves himself the stronger. He prevails over Tiamat, cleaves her into two montrous halves, the upper of which he fixes in place as the heavens, in which in turn he fixes the heavenly bodies; and the lower of which halves, on the other hand, he sets in place as the earth. Then he compounds material of his own blood for the creation of man, the chief purpose of whose creation is "that the service of the gods may be established." This account of creation is so pronouncedly different from the Biblical account that the points of difference completely overshadow the incidental points of resemblance. To speak of a "striking resemblance between the two cosmogonies" certainly is a partisan overstatement of the case; and to go on to say that "the cosmogony of Genesis I rests on a conception of the process of creation fundamentally identical with that of the Enuma elis (the opening words of the Chaldean Genesis) tablets" is simply a distortion of the truth.

Of the Phoenician cosmogony it is sufficient to remark that it contains the idea of the world-egg, hatched out to produce the world. Analogous to this from this point of view is the Indian conception. The uncreated Lord appeared in chaos. The next step was to render this world visible by means of the five elements, by shining forth in brightest light and dispelling darkness. Into the water, which he creates first, he lays a germ cell. This becomes a gleaming egg in which Brahma is found, the source principle. A protracted period of hatching brings him to light. Aside from fantastic and confused elements it may well be that even this cosmogony carries within it certain echoes of the Genesis account which are all but forgotten.

The Parsee Genesis, appearing in a late book of the Bundehest, has at least this sequence of created things: 1. heaven, 2. water, 3. earth, 4. planets, 5. animals, 6. man. Nothing is said concerning the creation of light. The partial correspondence with the account of the Bible is obvious. But since this is a late book, this correspondence may have resulted from an acquaintance with the Biblical record.

Still more nearly parallel to the Biblical account is the cosmogony attributed to the Etruscans by the writer Suidas, who lived in the tenth century A. D. For the sequence runs thus: 1. heaven and earth, 2. firmament, 3. sea and water, 4. sun and moon, 5. souls of animals, 6. man. To the six items six `periods of a thousand years each are assigned. Yet the influence of the Bible record is so very likely in the case of a writer of the tenth century of the Christian era that there is great likelihood that the writer's Christian ideas will `have led him to find these successive items, which another might not even have noticed in the same material. Or else the ancient Etruscan tradition had absorbed a high percentage of Biblical thought on matters such as these. One would expect the Persian cosmogony to be radically different and in conformity with the principles of dualism.

In the Avesta time and light and darkness are uncreated. These constitute the true spiritual world. They are eternal because Mazda, the god of light, is himself eternal.

Hesiod informs us how the Greeks conceived of the origin of things. First there existed Chaos; there-upon the earth; next Tartarus; then Eros (Love), the most beautiful of the deathless gods. Out of Chaos night is born. The earth begets the heavens; then the ocean comes into being. After these Saturn, father of gods, existed. The rest of the pantheon follow him.

To the Egyptians several views on the origin of the earth are to be attributed. Some regarded the god Ptah as the craftsman who built the world. Others held that it was the goddess Neith who wove its fabric. The fundamental principle from which all things take their origin was thought to be water, for in it were fancied to be the male and the female germs of life. Even the great god Ra was supposed to have sprung from it, though others believed that he had been hatched out of an egg. We may well say that these cosmogonies are the best available outside the Genesis account.

A man does not need any supernatural enlightenment to discern that not one of all these can compare even remotely with the scriptural account for depth of thought, simplicity, propriety and beauty. All the others disappoint us by their incompleteness, or by their confusion, or by their lack of sequence, or as being the embodiment of some deep-seated error. Their conception of God is most unsatisfactory and unworthy. Or if they rise to a higher level, we have reason for believing that the better element is traceable to the Bible as the source.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

King Midas in Reverse!

Well, the end was like the beginning. The Jesus Racing Team crashed out again - on lap 28 of the Bathurst 1000. It is difficult to see what good was done in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ through this exercise.

The 'anchor' for Channel 7 News (Sydney) on Friday night jibed "The Jesus Racing Team will need a resurrection" after the crash in practice on Friday. The car got onto the track for the big race on Sunday but, unlike our Lord Jesus who was resurrected in glory in 3 days, the Jesus Racing Team were put completely out of business in 3 days (Hebrew days).

Year 2009 is really establishing itself as an Annus Horribilis for the Sydney Anglican Diocese. Why is it that all that is touched is turning to mud?


Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Passion ... for Evangelism?

The crowd in the mall stood still as the group of both male and female teenagers organised themselves into their respective positions. Then one of the teenagers stepped forward and took up a microphone. He announced they were a group of young people who were about to do some dance moves and they were doing it all for Jesus. They then went into action but the thought somewhat uncomfortably swam around in my mind "Is this reaching the lost in the Name of Jesus Christ?... How effective is it?" I must confess the whole scene had a 'cringe' effect on me. Anyway some water has passed under the bridge since that spectacle.

Today my thoughts were thrown into a similar quandary while watching the television news. There was a 'trailer' to the sporting section of the news showing a car at Mt Panorama, Bathurst, NSW, emblazoned with the message "Jesus, all about life". Sadly, the film clip was of the "Jesus" car crashing out of practice and going backwards into a wall. When the sporting section came on, the voice-over journalist quipped (as the image was again shown of the "Jesus" car crashing into the wall) "The Jesus team will need a miracle to be in the field on race day." There was then a quick interview of the leader of the "Jesus Racing Team" who said the damage to the car was minor and they will be right for race day." When the news segment covering the Bathurst car races finished the 'anchor' in studio said the the voice-over journalist "the Jesus team will need a resurrection to be there race day."

Well, all this made me wonder "Is God with the Jesus Racing Team?"

"Is this the way to evangelise?"

"Is more harm being done than good?" After all, the "Jesus" car was the subject of jibes in the television studio and would surely have attracted laughtere and perhaps scorn from the hard cases assembled up there on Mt Panorama.

"Is this just a group of rev-heads 'legitimising' their motoring interest by slapping the logo "Jesus, all about life" on their vehicle and saying they are evangelising?"

Maybe the Lord will be with them and a miracle will occur - the "Jesus Team" will perform well and attract some credible interest. I have my doubts though. Further, I suspect more harm than good may be done to the Name of our Lord and to cause of reaching the lost.

Time will tell.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Sydney Anglican Bulverism

“Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is “wishful thinking.” You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself. When you have checked my figures, then, and then only, will you know whether I have that balance or not. If you find my arithmetic correct, then no amount of vapouring about my psychological condition can be anything but a waste of time. If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic, and the doctrine of the concealed wish will become relevant – but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely arithmetical grounds. It is the same with all thinking and all systems of thought. If you try to find out which are tainted by speculating about the wishes of the thinkers, you are merely making a fool of yourself. You must find out on purely logical grounds which of them do, in fact, break down as arguments. Afterwards, if you like, go on and discover the psychological causes of the error.

In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became to be so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism.” Some day I am going the write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father – who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third – “Oh, you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment,” E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.”

I saw this quote from C.S. Lewis on one of our linked sites and immediately thought just how relevant it was to our disagreement with the Sydney Anglican Diocese. I’ve never met a SAD who has honestly engaged with the young earth case, either scientifically or theologically. They periodically paint us as some sort of inbred hillbilly, to partially borrow Peter Jensen’s choice of words. They do as Lewis argued: don’t worry about the facts of the case, rather set your sight upon their psychological state. I suppose it's a version of that old standby tactic for people who have no argument,'play-the-man-not-the-ball'.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Even the pagans can understand, so why can’t Jensen and his allies?

A friend of mine, who is professionally involved in training people to enter the media or to improve the existing skills of those already in front of the camera, passed onto me a book called The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories?. The book’s really not my cup of tea, except for a section of a chapter dealing with origins.

The author, Christopher Booker, realising just how important this issue is, states in his opening sentence, “One of the deepest human needs met by our faculty for imagining stories is our desire for an explanation and descriptive picture of how the world began and how we came to be in it.”

Of course this runs antithetically to how the SADs see it. It is our experience that SADs seek to downplay the significance the author of the Bible places upon the creation week historiography.

What’s far more interesting, however, is Booker’s clear insight into the absolute difference between the Judeo-Christian account and the other category of origin explanation. (Booker actually says there are two others, but he errs in as much as these are, from a methodological aspect, synonymous.) He stresses that in Genesis 1, personal Mind was internally present, and that this Mind, God, took 6 days to create everything (note, Booker doesn’t call them a symbolic or poetic 6 days!). He calls this account untypical. This once again raises the question, one which many of the Moorites and their followers have assiduously refused to answer, Why do these heretics strive so zealously to compare Genesis 1 with pagan accounts (e.g. Enuma Elish) when it is obvious to the pagan Booker, for example, that they are to be contrasted?

Booker also notes that God in the Genesis 1 account miraculously creates and all life and non-living entities are brought into being fully-formed. In contradistinction to this are the other explanatory stories, “found in almost every other creation myth in the world, [which] give the impression of a process infinitely more laborious, mysterious and long-drawn-out.” He then continues with a further differentiating quality: in the pagan accounts, “the emergence of our recognisable world takes place by what we would call an ‘evolutionary’ process, as each new component develops out of what came before.”

There you have it: a pagan who can read Genesis 1 and understand that the text says that God created quickly and perfectly.

Why then are Moorites and the Sydney Anglican Diocese seeking to remove the unique qualities of the Genesis 1 historical account and by doing so paganise the Christian origin explanation?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 19 value of

9. Value and Importance of Genesis

In a general way it would be correct to say that this book is singular in its kind, for it offers the only correct and satisfactory information that we possess concerning prehistoric times and the Urgeschichte ("history of the primitive ages"). It goes back beyond the reach of available historical sources and offers not mythical suppositions, not poetical fancies, not vague suggestions, but a positive record of things as they actually transpired and, at the same time, of matters of infinite moment for all mankind. But more specifically, all this material relative to prehistoric times and the Urgeschichte really provides the most substantial and even fundamental theological concepts. The major theological concepts are incomplete and leave much to be desired, if the content that Genesis offers should be subtracted. Before God can be known as Saviour, He must be understood as the Creator of humankind and of the world. Just what manner of Father and Creator He is we find displayed in the two Creation chapters, Genesis I and 2. In like manner no adequate and correct conception of man is possible without a knowledge of the essentials concerning his creation, his original state, the image of God, and the like. Again, the problem of sin will constitute much more of a problem if the origin of sin, that is to say, the Fall into sin be not understood. With that fact correctly apprehended, we achieve a correct estimate of the degree of depravity that is characteristic of fallen men.

Without the promise of ultimate victory through the Seed of the Woman all further revelations concerning the salvation to come must stand minus an adequate base upon which they can successfully build. In other words, certain vital questions in reference to the type of revelation that mankind needs find a satisfactory answer in Genesis and nowhere else. Concerning some of these matters the legends and the traditions of mankind offer a bit of material, most of which is distorted by error; some of which, in the elements of truth that it contains, is too weak to be of any actual value. An illustration of the extent to which this material is available is the vague report current among the ancients that there once had been a Golden Age. The unreliability of such material is demonstrated by the utter absence of any tradition concerning a Fall into sin. Disregarding the material relation to matters theological, we find that Genesis also provides the much needed foundations for all history. The vague surmises as to man's past prior historic times all stand corrected by the story of the beginnings of the human race in Adam, or by the story of the second beginning in Noah. Equally important are the very valid data concerning the unity of the human race as provided basically in Genesis 1 and in greater detail in chapter 10, incomplete though this latter chapter may be in regard to a few matters. So, too, the question as to the origin of the multiplicity of languages is disposed of by the account concerning the confusion of tongues. Similarly, the singular position of Israel among the nations, a challenge to every historian, finds an adequate explanation in the Call of Abraham. Of course, from that point onward Genesis no longer records general history but only the history of the Kingdom of God.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stand in the ways and see and ask for the old paths

I had two rather interesting tales passed to me the other day. The concluding remark in one of these, if it weren’t true, might have quite easily served as a joke’s entertaining punchline. It concerned Moore College and its final spiritual and philosophical decrepitude. From without, and put simply, it clearly tips Moore over to the liberal side of the theological divide. More of both these stories later, but first a revisit to ancient Israel.

‘Thus says the LORD:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths,
where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

“And they have caused themselves to
stumble in their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in pathways
And not on a highway.”
(Jeremiah 6:16;18:15)

From the present’s obvious vantage point of being able to peer backwards to the distant past, I’ve often wondered why Israel found it so difficult to appropriately respond to God. Israel did believe in a “God”, of sorts. They understood that the world was created. The people understood that it wasn’t eternal or that it hadn’t just popped into existence from and because of nothing. That much is clear. But why did Israel, time and time again, take the wrong paths?

“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us’?
Look, the false pen of the scribe
Certainly works falsehood.”
(Jeremiah 8:8)

The prophets, repeatedly, spelled out the solution. It was clearly a product of leadership and these “God-appointed” men giving the wrong information. This specious knowledge didn’t suddenly appear one day, causeless, whole, a take-it-or-leave-it package, but incrementally worked its way into the general consciousness of the people through, and what was generally regarded as innocuous, alterations in revelation. I can almost hear the priests discussing it to the lay person: “Look, trust us. Aren’t we Kohenim, God’s elect. What’s it matter if you believe this? After all, isn’t the main focus of our nation to be on the fact that Moses rescued us from the yoke of the Egyptians? As long as you believe that God saved us, then the rest is secondary. Be reassured that the writers of sacred Scripture never meant that it should be taken so dogmatically as you suggest it should. A little bit of give between the text and reader is to be expected in our enlightened age. I wouldn’t have spent all those years studying at Jerusalem to be wrong on this.” Yes, I can very well imagine such self-serving justification.

Their fundamental error was to replace God and His revelation with themselves as the epistemological nub of their spirituality:

“For my people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns – broken
cisterns that can hold no water.”
(Jeremiah 2:13)

Once you substitute God as foundational for knowledge, anything and everything is up for grabs. We should be entirely faithful to God when His Spirit has spoken and we should intellectually honestly deal with that information. Too often people obstinately ignore God’s revelation and turn to another in order to form their understanding of the world.

“Why then has this people slidden back,
Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding?
They hold fast to deceit,
They refuse to return.
I listened and heard,
But they do not speak aright.
No man repented of his wickedness,
Saying, ‘What have I done?’
Everyone turned to his own course,
As the horse rushes into the battle.”
(Jeremiah 8:5,6)

The other morning an acquaintance visited a local Anglican church. The minister and he had previously spoken by phone about Disconnect ’09 and conversation had immediately turned to the great miracle of creation. Some time later he had walked into the church to pass on an article about the genre of Genesis 1. The minister wasn’t there but his assistant was. Again, rather quickly, they began discussing Genesis 1. My friend pointed out to the young and recently graduated Moorite that he had misidentified historical prose as ahistorical poetry. The young man believed, among other things, that if a piece of writing contains repetition then necessarily it can’t be historical narrative. It was pointed out that on the contrary there is plenty of well-known ancient “secular” historiography containing this literary device. His reply was perhaps the most astounding my friend, or indeed I, have ever heard from a Moorite: “You are arrogant because you ignore the findings of postmodernism’s critique of modernism.”

There you have it: the words of wisdom from 4 years of what I can only label ‘brainwashing’ from an institution that is supposedly serving as Australia’s theological flagship. That this represents the zenith of critical thinking is hardly reassuring. Apparently, the best they can offer is to argue that my friend should throw away his personal relationship with God, in which he attentively allows God, the author of Scripture, to speak to his mind, and instead substitute his own intellect to be the basis for and interpreter of truth. The postmodern project says that the author is dead, allowing the reader to puts his meaning - or any other sinner’s or fool’s for that matter - into the text because the author can no longer speak.

And this is why these Moore graduates can look you in the face and tell you that 6 days does not mean 6 days because God’s intended meaning, if indeed He ever had one, has a shelf-life that has long expired. God, in as much as He is the author of His Word, is silent. If He is silent, then it follows that it is up to us to “discover” what happened at the very beginning.

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose mind departs from the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 17:5)

What in fact is happening is that these people are replacing God at the epistemological centre of the search for truth with an ersatz, with an idol of the mind. These people – and first-hand experience bears this out - are no longer approachable by reason because they have forsaken reason and committed adultery with another nation’s gods. Gods do not have to be a physical representation but are more likely to be, and considerably more harmful if they are, the way we think and whom we intellectually rely on.

“For it is the land of carved images,
And they are insane with their idols.”
(Jeremiah 50:38)

The other story occurred at a University of NSW New College function. The speaker, a neo-natal expert from Britain and ostensibly a conservative, presented a lecture on ethics, abortion and biogenetic manipulation. In conversation afterwards he explained how he had complete faith in the scientific project, God’s revelation wasn’t perspicuous and that he was free to hold to a long age view of origins. It was pointed out to him that all of the miracles of the Bible were done in no time and perfectly, yet the biggest miracle, creation, according to his own view, was exceedingly slow and error-ridden. Ignoring all reason that instantaneity and perfection are how our minds recognise God’s miraculous working in nature, he shrugged his shoulders, smiled politely, and excused himself.

Clearly, all his mind’s thoughts had not been made captive to Christ and is a perfect example of a Christian’s outlook being directed by a foreign idol, in this case, the secular Enlightenment project. This philosophical approach splits up the things of faith and the things of science, thereby, in the case of the latter, promoting an independent, God-free epistemology in which the Lord is not all in all.

In August’s Southern Cross Moore College’s principal John Woodhouse makes an extraordinary sales pitch for the college. His first supporting argument is the “godliness” of its teachers. Until I read John’s comments I’d never realised in my nearly 30 years of being Christian that it was another man’s “godliness” that we are to set our sights upon, particularly upon those same men, whom John held up as paradigms of virtue, who would also read John’s article. I’d always thought that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” and that it was Christ’s holiness that we are to be subject to. Maybe I’ve missed something from these teachers of God’s law.

But even more alarming (is that possible?!) is John’s outrageous hypocrisy. Quite incredibly he delusionally argues that Moore has a “worldwide reputation for teaching how the whole Bible and all of its parts bear witness to Christ.” John’s italics here serve as a comedic self-parody. If John actually believed that, he would understand the Gospel and Christ’s first office of Creator; but he doesn’t. Christ clearly tells us in Exodus 31 that He “made the heavens and the earth in 6 days”, and John just doesn’t believe this. John believes that the world is old, very old, and that, quite obviously, Jesus didn’t really mean this when he said this 3,500 years ago to Moses. No, despite the disciple John’s and the apostle Paul’s unequivocal statements that in Christ “all things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made”, despite Christ Himself revealing exactly how long he took to bring the earth into existence, the principal of Moore College, on the contrary, believes that this is just not true. John’s training is in geology and I can only guess that that is where he finds his “intellectual” crutch in order to theologically reinterpret Jesus’ own words to Moses.

I shouldn’t be too severe on John. He does manage, however, to take Jesus’ words seriously, somewhat. At the end of his emphatic statement that the whole Bible serves to witness to Christ, he inserts the textual support for this claim. Bizarrely it’s John 5:39, augmented with an even more emphatic exclamation mark. This verse, as you recall, is Jesus’ own supporting argument to His claim He is from God, namely, that the Old Testament does indeed testify to this. But what is conveniently, and ironically, missing from John Woodhouse’s argument is that Jesus goes on to claim that it was Moses who wrote about Him. Furthermore, Jesus claims that if you don’t believe Moses’ words about Jesus, you won’t believe Jesus’ words about Himself. So, Moses said, after speaking with, in all likelihood, the Creator Jesus, that Jesus took 6 days to create the earth. Moore College argues that this is not what Moses meant. It then goes out into the world (weren’t they spotted standing almost inside St Andrew’s the other week trying to “evangelise”?) and argues with non-believers that it doesn’t really matter what you believe about Moses’ meaning here because you should just believe Jesus died for you.

It’s a very simple formula Jesus put forward: If you don’t believe Moses, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to believe that Jesus said, and meant, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Teach people a pagan, atheistic philosophy that God incomprehensibly used chance, death and time to create, and then expect them to believe that out of His complete love for us, He died for us, they’ll think you’re fools. And rightly so!

God’s judgement is now upon the Sydney Anglican Diocese. Not only has its leaders committed adultery, but it even has allowed itself to follow the vilest principles of secularism by borrowing money to play the stock exchange. It has lost millions. But it doesn’t end there. Taking its lead from the cold brutality of the corporate business world, it sacks people while its clergy continue on the same salary. Yet it expects to “Connect” with the lost!

“This says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring on this city and on all her towns all the doom that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks that they might not hear my words.” (Jeremiah 19:15)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Whom to believe: Man or God?

An interesting article here, concerns recent genetic analysis of humans, other primates and mice.

One section on one gene serves as a marker to distinguish between our capacity for speech and these other animals’ inability. The discovery of DNA in Neanderthal remains has also been analysed for this gene and marker. Unsurprising for creationists was that Neanderthal has exactly the same genetic information as modern humans. This means that this “ancient” people were fully human and could speak.

Evolutionists have long fed us the unscientific fairytale that Neanderthals were hairy grunters. We now know that they buried their dead, performed surgery, of sorts, and had a bigger brain capacity than ours.

The Sydney Anglican heretics prop up their wayward, jejune theology with the pseudo-science of old-age, evolutionary materialism. This pagan myth stands in stark contrast to real science and the Bible which say, among other things, that Neanderthal “were” fully human.

These heretical Anglicans prefer to listen to the babblings of atheists than God, even allowing this heathen theory of origins to interpret God’s revelation. What sort of faith is this?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 18 interpretation

8. Mode of Interpretation

There are several modes of interpretation current in our day that deserve to be stigmatized as inadequate and unsatisfactory. Some still prefer to allegorize portions of Scripture rejecting the literal sense and seeking a hidden spiritual meaning, although hardly any would venture to follow this procedure exclusively and consistently. In rejecting this type of interpretation we do not question the validity of the interpretation that sees types of Christ in outstanding Old Testament characters especially where the New Testament suggests such a use. Much more common in our day is the fault of attempting to press Old Testament Scriptures down to the level of the sacred writings of the heathen, making them to be works patterned particularly after Babylonian source material.

This type of interpretation includes what for want of a better name must be described as "debunking"--interpretation that speaks irreverently of venerable Old Testament characters, imputes the lowest possible motives to them, and so utterly fails to understand their oft times great and heroic faith. This approach often attempts nothing less than to discredit these sacred Scriptures as unworthy of use by the New Testament church--an approach common in Germany at the present. Of course, there still is need of reminding that sound interpretation dare not disregard the difference between the Old and New Testament levels of revelation.

Good exegetes, even up to the Reformation age, failed to reckon with the fact that the unchanging truth was revealed with ever increasing clearness and fulness, a revelation culminating in Christ Jesus. The fuller revelation of a later age was at times imputed to an earlier word that did not as yet embody the fuller expression. Of course, we do not for a moment imply any such thing as man's progressive achievement. Our principle of interpretation is to unfold the fulness of revealed truth by careful examination of the grammatical statement as well as of the historical circumstances of the inspired text in dependence upon the Spirit of revelation, who alone is able to lead us into all truth.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Evolution of a Creationist

Slip over to Stand Firm for this blog on creation(ism). We rate a mention, which is nice.

Just by the by, for an issue that is a 'side issue' as the SADists claim, it reliably attracts vast amounts of conversation both in Christian and non-christian circles...seems to be a little more interesting than the ACL's meetings! Yet the SAD blithly slips away from this ground of Biblical faith and Paul's proclamatory examples!

BTW, one of the commenters on Stand Firm got a little excited that we'd chosen the term 'heresy'.

Here's a dictionary definition of the word: "opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine"

Nothing to get steamed about, just a statement of fact; the SAD as we've criticised it is at variance with the historical acceptance in the church (and the Bible, I might add) that the doctrine of creation is established by Genesis 1, and not Genesis 1 plus materialism. The Archbishop has done nothing to repudiate his view that theistic evolution is satisfactory. Ipso facto...heresy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Darwinists' dance in a circle

Slip over to Uncommon Descent for this post on the illogic of darwinian argument (clearly it is as yet insufficiently evolved!).

And while I'm linking around the shop, Denyse O'Leary has a piece on the conflict between science and fraud. On Haeckel, of course, but oh, so many still think he had something to say that was worth attending to.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The important thing is...

I put this post up on a Neil’s blog 'code red' of a few days ago.

...if they reject the only text that teaches God's creating, then they are hard pressed to maintain that he did.

A friend of mine (a minister) was bemoaning the fact the other day that he could talk to people about atonement, Christ etc. and they just 'glazed over', didn't seem to 'get' it. Well, I think it may be that if people are hearing about Christ with a world view that puts God within the creation (the 'evolved universe'), then of course, they'd have trouble understanding an act that only makes sense if the creator does it, and does it in the stream of salvation history grounded in the universe's creation history. The two are intertwined and inseparable...unless you are a Greek in philosophy while trying to be a Christian in theology!

It is intriguing that our SAD friends can separate God doing something from his account of the actions that show the doing.

That is, I’ve often heard the phrase ‘the important thing is that God is creator’ as John quoted, from the same person who denies that there is any objective content in the Genesis 1 account that aligns with real world events.

They’ve missed the point of the account, I think!

It’s like looking at your bank statement and thinking that the important thing is that you have a bank account, and not the amount of money it contains!

The details do matter!

The creation account in Genesis 1 is God’s demonstration of his being creator and of what his creation is. It shows how God has made the setting for his relationship with us: both generative and covenantal, and links those relationships with the concrete reality of our daily lives, delimited by the real creation that we are in and is from God’s hands.

If we deny that God’s demonstration of his creating is true, then we have no knowledge of God’s being creator apart from words that have a tenuous if any link with the subject of the purported creative activity. The direct link between God’s being creator and his creation is broken, and we have to say that the creation has its source, not in God’s word as he has demonstrated to us, but in some other source. The only other sources offered in our time are that the creation itself has brought itself forth: that’s the detail of the contemporary cosmogony (and biotic evolution), which must inform the general understanding of the origin of the cosmos and life.

God informs this knowledge by a completely alternative source: himself through his word. There are no secondary intervening mechanics or principles that apply to bring forth the world as we know it. This is the point of such references as John 1:3, Col 1:16 and Hebrews 11:3. The creation is intimately and directly linked to God, it is not removed from God by some secondary operation whose effect is to mask God’s role in creation and make the creation appear to stand alone without need of a creator. And this is precisely what modern paganism has: writers from Huxley at Darwin’s time to Dawkins in our own attest to the conception that if the Genesis account is counterfactual, then the cosmos stands on its own feet and there is no need for a creator.

All this leaves us with is a Genesis account that is a folorn mistake and doesn’t represent God’s action as creator, but is just like the pagan tales of creation, where story is substituted for fact, and the real world is something different from the account, but is unknown to the authors, who must invent from their imagination, rather than report what actually occurred.

Not only does this program deny that God has demonstrated that he is creator, but it says that reality: the setting for our encounter with God both in filial love and covenant is not what God has said, and that the marks of purpose in creation are the result not of purpose (because material contains no purpose), but of accident; this reality is not pregnant with intention, will and love, underpinned by purposeful intelligence (and that is God’s demonstration in Genesis 1, etc.), but is a sequence of cosmic accidents that do not and cannot point to God, that even God himself is unclear about and cannot marshal to his covenant with his creatures.

If this is the case, then the game is up!

Thus, it is through the details that we can make sense of the generality that God created. His work actually means something as we have the detail that is tangibly descriptive of the creation and in terms that make sense to our experience of it. Without this, we’d be just like the pagans and only have fairy stories that are disconnected from the concrete world we inhabit and in which sin and salvation operate. To set this aside and maintain the claim that we still acknowledge God as creator is the height of irrationality because we’ve just dismissed the only underpinning information we have of his being creator.

In its details the creation account prevents us entertaining any mistakes about the creation; common mistakes that are entertained by theistic evolutionists and those who interpose long ages somewhere either in the Genesis account, or in the pre-abrahamic history.

These mistakes are such as thinking that the universe (the creation) contains within itself any means of bringing matter from nothing, or organisation from non-organisation; thinking that kinds of living beings can derive from each other, and do not come from the will of God, rendering God irrelevant to the witness to teleology contained within the creation. Matter contains no teleology!

There are more profound mistakes that the Genesis account prevents.

That more generally, anything in creation can have as its source anything but God and that explanations of origins can validly set God aside, dismiss him, and leave us without proper spiritual cause. This mistake reduces God from the involved, loving, personally committed one who creates for relationship, to the deist caricature, of a machine starter who walks away once the devise is puttering along in the distance. This is not the God of the Bible.

Further, this mistake breaks the continuity of objective relations across time (and the temporal congruence is that which brings our 'life stream' and the stream of salvation history, rooted in the creation, into a domain of interaction), and has to hope that there is something more to our world than is revealed by God. This pops up in the form of philosophical idealism, where a reality behind God is imagined and to which God conforms. The sponsor of this direction in thinking is paganism which starts from the basis of the universe being, at some level, a ‘given’. God is not the one who speaks into existence all that is (and lists the ‘how’ as evidence of all that is in Genesis 1, the heavenly world aside, of course), but the one who is himself dependent on something that pre-exists him.

The objective continuity of relations across time shows us that Christ, who is creator and redeemer and re-creator, has as his domain of work the very real world that we live in; and not some airy world of ideas that we do not in fact inhabit. It makes Christ’s work tangible and in the same ‘world frame’ as the one that circumscribes our way of being. His salvation and re-creation are therefore real; not visions or fictional, they are congruent with the lives that we lead in time and space and before God, not off in some otherly defined realm of being.

The details we have in Genesis one etch for us the limits of the material world, set its relationship with the immaterial or spiritual world of persons (God), and deny the independence of anything in the material creation. It is this last point that is particularly important, and one that is set aside by those who deny the account, noting that
-material needs external action to form life etc, it has no teleology, it relies on intentioned action to head to goals;
-nothing in creation is a given; it is all created;
-there is no room for other forces or factors which would have the effect of making the creation rest on something outside of God; this is the very thing that denial of the account permits; it undermines the dependence of the creation on its creator and looks in the creation for something that must be there to give effect what the creation is.

The argument between the Genesis account in all its detail and those who deny the facticity and significance of the detail is the argument between a framing of the world in Christian-theist terms and its counter framing in paganistic-deist terms. One extols Christ, the other denies him.

To maintain their view, that is, to run with their mistakes, theistic evolutionists and ‘long agers’ have to set aside the account in Genesis; with the result that the contradictions they would fall foul of are made to vanish: it’s a sure fire recipe; if you want to avoid being contradicted by the word of God, just redefine it so that it ceases to intersect with the real world. There’s no restraint on mistakes then and people can believe what they like, and end up doing so!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 17 outline

Introduction (1:1-2:3)

Introduction--the Creation Account. 1. The First History--that of Heaven and Earth (2:4-4:26).

1. Supplementary details of the Creation count (2:4-25).

2. The Temptation and the Fall (chapter 3).

3. The Early Development of the Sinful Human Race (chapter 4).

The History of Adam (5:1-6:8).
1. The Separate Development of the Godly (chapter 5).
2. The Commingling of the Two Races (6:1-8).

The History of Noah (6:9-9:29).
1. Noah's Piety (6:9-12).
2. How Noah was preserved (6:13-9:17).
3. The Future of the Races of Mankind Foretold (9:18-29).

The History of the Sons of Noah (10:1-21:9).
1. The Sons of Japheth (10:1-5).
2. The Sons of Ham (10:6-20).
3. The Sons of Shem (10:21-31).
4. The Tower of Babel, or The Confusion of Tongues (11:1-9).

History of Shem (11 :10-26).

The History of Terah (11:27-25:11).
1. The Life of Terah (11:27-32).

[for the rest see the file on

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sydney Anglican Diocese - A State of Unbelief

How can it be? The largest conservative Diocese of the Anglican Church in the world, the Sydney Anglican Diocese, launches a huge initiative to connect with the unchurched (Connect 09) as part of an even greater plan to get 10% of the population within the diocesan boundary into bible believing churches. But, on the eve of Connect 09 there is a global financial crisis which, as the year 2009 unfolds, has a devastating effect on Diocesan investments. Severe cutbacks are anticipated, with Southern Cross, the Diocesan newspaper announcing a 50% reduction in staff and reducing by about half the pages of the August 2009 edition. Ministry in many areas will experience cutbacks.

Attempts to connect with the unchurched via Connect 09 produce no reports of substantial increase in church numbers let alone the vital cause of regeneration in Jesus Christ.

All this is not what the Diocese would have hoped for when first contemplating the Archbishop's charge to the Diocese to reach people in the Name of Jesus Christ some years ago.

Well, in this writer's view the problem can be found at the top and in many avenues flowing out from there. Archbishop Peter Jensen has made it known in the past that he is sympathetic to a Theistic Evolution view of the origin of life. In his time as Principal of Moore Theological College there would have been many graduates of the College who entered ministry, are now 'at the coal-face' and hold to Theistic Evolution as an explanation of the origin of life.

Theistic Evolution is untenable with the nature of God Incarnate and His written Word expressed.

In such a circumstance what does the Lord God do? How does He respond to the many prayers for involvement and blessing upon Connect 09?

By events thus far observed are we seeing how God has responded?

Perhaps we gain further insight through the musings of Anglican Bishop J. C. Ryle in the 19th Century when he considered the gospel writer Luke's account of the angelic announcement of a son for aged Zechariah and his barren wife, Elizabeth. (Luke 1:5-25)

"What a striking example we have here of the power of unbelief in a good man! Righteous and holy as Zacharias was, the announcement of the angel appears to him incredible.

A well-instructed Jew, like Zacharias, ought not to have raised this question. No doubt he was well acquainted with the Old Testament. He ought to have remembered the wonderful births recorded there (Gen. 18:11-14; Judg. 13:2-3, 1 Sam. 1:5,19) and that what God has done once He can do again. With Him nothing is impossible. But he forgot all this. He thought of nothing but the arguments of mere human reason and sense. And it often happens in religious matters that, where reason begins, faith ends.

How exceeding sinful the sin of unbelief is in the sight of God! (v.20) The doubts and questionings of Zacharias brought down upon him the heavy chastisement peculiarly suited to the offence. The tongue that was not ready to speak the the language of believing praise was struck dumb. For nine long months at least, Zacharias was condemned to silence, and was daily reminded that by unbelief he had offended God.

Few sins appear to be so peculiarly provoking to God as the sin of unbelief. It is a practical denial of God's almighty power to doubt whether He can do a thing when He undertakes to do it. It is giving the lie to God to doubt whether He means to do a thing when He has plainly promised it shall be done.

Let us watch and pray daily against this soul-ruining sin. Concessions to it rob believers of their inward peace, weaken their hands in the day of battle, bring clouds over their hopes. Unbelief is the true cause of a thousand spiritual diseases. In all that respects the pardon of our sins and the acceptance of our souls, the duties and trials of our daily lives, let it be a settled maxim in our religion, to trust every word of God implicitly, and to beware of unbelief."

How more simply could God have rendered His account of the creation of the world and everything in it? (Gen. 1) How more clearly could He have substantiated that account as He did? (Ex. 20:11 and 31:17-18) How more demonstrably could He affirm His nature and capacity to create in past, present and future than He did Incarnate?

To reject injunction such as this is no different to Zechariah's unbelief in the message of God delivered through the angel. As such, the 'mouths' that attempt to deliver the initiative of Connect 09 will seem, for a time at least, as 'dumb' to the intended audience.